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Why Nursing Home Elopement May Be a Sign of Neglect

Elderly woman with the walkerIt is heartbreaking to consider the possibility of your loved one eloping from a nursing home. Elopement, or wandering away from a nursing facility, can be a sign of neglect and should not be taken lightly. It can happen for many reasons, including anxiety and confusion due to an unfamiliar environment or inadequate staffing levels that don’t provide enough attention to residents. 

The problem of nursing home elopement is becoming more common as facilities struggle with limited resources and the lack of proper training in caring for elderly patients. Dalli & Marino, LLP can help you figure out what to do if you suspect elopement is happening at your loved one’s nursing home.

The Connection Between Dementia and Elopement

Elopement is when someone with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or another memory impairment wanders off and gets lost. It can be a terrifying experience for family members. The risk of elopement increases as the disease progresses and can cause serious harm or even death if not addressed quickly enough.

Unfortunately, elopement is a very real problem in nursing homes and memory care facilities. Many elderly patients with dementia may wander off without realizing where they are going or why they left in the first place. They may be searching for something familiar or trying to escape from an unfamiliar environment. Even worse, they may become disoriented and confused due to their cognitive decline, leading them into dangerous situations such as busy streets, bodies of water, or even strangers’ homes.

Steps Nursing Homes Should Take to Prevent Elopement

At nursing homes and memory care facilities, staff should always be aware of their residents’ whereabouts and potential risks for elopement. That means creating secure environments that are easy to navigate for those with limited mobility or cognitive impairments. Careful supervision is also essential; staff should keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior that might indicate that someone is about to wander off.

In addition to physical measures like locks on doors and gates around outdoor areas, there are also many technological solutions available to help prevent elopement among those with dementia living in nursing homes or memory care facilities, such as sensors placed on doorways that detect when someone passes through them.

Neglect When Staff Fail to Protect Residents

In some cases, the people responsible for caring for your loved one may not recognize signs indicating an increased risk for elopement before it actually occurs – leaving them vulnerable and exposed outside their facility grounds. For instance, if staff members don’t spot indicators like restlessness or agitation that could predict someone attempting to leave without permission, then they won’t have an opportunity to intervene before it’s too late. 

In other instances, they may simply turn a blind eye out of fear that reporting such incidents would lead to consequences on their part, such as being disciplined or even fired from their positions. This can be a sign of nursing home neglect. 

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

If you have reason to believe that your family member has been affected by neglectful practices at a nursing home that has allowed them to wander off, then there are steps you can take toward resolving the issue. First, be sure to talk to the nursing home and document your concerns. 

Next, you should file a lawsuit against the nursing home in the event your loved one is injured or severely impacted by the elopement. Dalli & Marino, LLP can help. Contact us online or call us at 888-465-8790 today to discuss your potential legal case. We also speak Spanish.

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