Nursing Home Elopement and Wandering Attorneys in Florida
Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia often spend time walking or rolling their wheelchairs aimlessly throughout the facility. This type of behavior, whether you want to call it wandering or elopement, can put such patients at risk for serious injury and or death if the nursing home does not provide proper supervision.
Although wandering and elopement involve similar behavior, they are not the same:
- Wandering occurs when a nursing home resident moves aimlessly down hallways and from room to room inside a facility;
- Elopement occurs when a nursing home resident that needs supervision finds a way to leave the facility unnoticed and unattended.
Patients that wander hallways are at risk for falling and injuring themselves. Patients that elope from the facility are at risk of quickly becoming lost outside. Such patients can suffer injury or death from many different things including harsh weather, drowning, dehydration, starvation, or being hit by a car.
What Nursing Homes Should do to Address Wandering and Elopement
Unfortunately patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia often wander the facility and try to leave. There is simply no way to rationalize with these residents to get them to stop. On the other hand there are plenty of ways to ensure these residents do not get hurt. Techniques to eliminate injury from wandering and prevent elopement include:
- Screening patients during admission to make sure the facility is capable of supervising and caring for them;
- Providing enough staff to meet the needs of all of the residents;
- Provide sufficient nursing home activities to address resident boredom;
- Provide safe supervised areas for residents to wander;
- Train staff on how to identify residents at risk to elope;
- Train staff on how to redirect residents that have escape behavior;
- Use window and door alarms;
- Use wander guard GPS devices to alert the staff to exit seeking behavior;
- Place video surveillance on all exits
When is a Negligent Nursing Home Responsible for Injury or Death After Wandering or Elopement?
Nursing homes that choose to care for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents are aware these patients can wander and elope. They are being paid well to ensure such residents are not harmed by this behavior. Therefore, it is rarely true that there was nothing they could do. Such facilities are most likely negligent under the following circumstances:
- Special precautions like the ones described above were not put in place even though the nursing home was aware of the resident’s history or wandering;
- The staff failed to follow policies and procedures designed to prevent elopement;
- The staff did not recognize the resident was missing, failed to notify law enforcement, and or failed to implement an organized search for the missing resident.
At Distasio Law Firm our nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers have the experience to getting to the truth of what happened. If a loved one has suffered injury or death from elopement or wandering let us help you in your time of need.
Need an Elopement & Wandering Attorney? Call 813-259-0022 Today!
Hire Distasio Law Firm to Bring a Claim
After you have made sure your loved one’s issues have been addressed you should seriously consider hiring a nursing home abuse attorney from our law firm to bring a lawsuit against the facility. A nursing home abuse lawyer can hold the nursing home accountable for what they have done and help ensure no other nursing home residents suffer from the same type of abuse or neglect.