Many seniors develop different types of medical conditions that include varying degrees of cognitive dysfunction. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are, unfortunately, common among aging populations of nursing homes. In some cases, these elderly residents attempt to wander from their rooms or even the facility itself. Many nursing homes have strict policies, procedures, and safety mechanisms in place so that residents are unable to leave the premises unsupervised. However, some organizations are not as diligent.
If your elderly loved one eloped from their care facility and suffered otherwise avoidable injuries, you may have a case for a nursing home neglect lawsuit. A Forest View wandering and elopement lawyer may be able to pursue damages on your loved one’s behalf. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
Wandering and Elopement
In many cases of wandering and elopement, the nursing home resident typically has a cognitive impairment that makes them confused or disoriented. Their mental state often prevents them from recognizing certain dangers, such as oncoming traffic or remote areas.
Statistics from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality show that elderly residents who have dementia are at a higher risk of elopement under certain conditions, such as recent medication changes, remaining alone for too long, or drastic alterations to their normal routines.
Nursing Home Staff Prevention of Wandering or Elopement
Wandering and elopement are completely preventable within a nursing home environment. One of the main reasons why people entrust their loved ones to a nursing home is to ensure their safety. There are several procedures a nursing home should follow to make sure that no senior resident ever wanders or elopes from the property.
- All nursing home staff members should receive training regarding the prevention of wandering or elopement of residents.
- Every resident should receive an evaluation of their mental state to determine their elopement risk. Additional measures should be in place for seniors identified as “chronic wanderers.”
- All doors, windows, and exits should have alarms that ring when any unauthorized person attempts to exit the facility.
- All residents should have a photo taken so that if an elderly resident does leave the property, they can be easily identified.
- No person should be able to exit the premises without proper identification.
- The care staff should conduct constant visual checks and monitoring of all residents, even those who are at a lower risk for wandering or elopement.
Illinois has strict mandates in place regarding the operation of nursing homes. For example, under the Illinois General Assembly Administrative Code Section 300.163, if any facility takes on the care of patients with dementia, it must make modifications to accommodate these special populations. Failure to do so that subsequently results in injury puts the organization at risk of punitive action.
While investigating your case, if we find that your loved one’s elopement resulted from the nursing home’s own failure to uphold protocol, you may have the basis for civil action. For more information, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
For a free legal consultation with a personal injury lawyer serving Forest View, call (800) 794-0444
Your Legal Team Will Need to Prove Negligence
One of the most important factors that we will have to prove as your Forest View wandering and elopement lawyer is that your loved one suffered harm as a result of their elopement. If there was no harm done, you may not have a case. For instance, if a senior left the premises, but was later found safe at a fast-food restaurant, it will be difficult to prove the four elements of negligence in your case.
To prove carelessness, we must demonstrate:
- Duty of care. When the nursing home accepted your loved one as a patient, they took responsibility for their wellbeing and should uphold a reasonable standard of care.
- Breached of duty of care. Your legal team will need to prove that either by negligence or poor judgment, the facility in question allowed for your loved one to leave the premises.
- Causation. This violation pertains to what allowed your loved one to elope in the first place. Did the nursing home fail to conduct routine bed checks? Was your loved one at any time unaccounted for without the staff’s knowledge? Your legal team will need to prove that the facility failed to protect your loved one through an act of negligence.
- Damages. We will need to prove that as a result of their elopement, your loved one suffered harm. This can include physical injuries or psychological distress. From here, we will be able to calculate how much your case may be worth. Typically, the worse your loved one’s injuries, the more compensation you will be able to seek.
Proving that the nursing home responsible for your loved one’s care acted negligently will be crucial to pursuing damages. Keep in mind that depending on how long ago your loved one sustained injuries, you may not have a long time to act under the Illinois statute of limitations. Your legal team can explain how this timeframe may pertain to your case.
Forest View Wandering and Elopement Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
What Your Financial Awards May Cover
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you get the compensation you need to pay for your losses following the elopement of your loved one.
If your loved one was found alive following their incident, your recovery may pay for:
- Medical bills.
- The cost of relocating to a new care facility.
- Lost wages, if you have to take off work to care for your loved one.
- Loss of inheritance, if you had to reach into your loved one’s savings to pay for their care.
If your family member passed away as a result of their elopement, you may have the grounds for a wrongful death claim.
These damages may include:
- Final medical bills and related expenses.
- Funeral and burial costs.
- Loss of consortium.
- Emotional trauma.
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience.
When your loved one’s care facility allowed them to leave the premises, the attending staff not only violated your trust, but they violated ethical standards as well. Contact a Forest View wandering and elopement lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.