When elderly residents wander away from a nursing home, they could risk suffering from serious injuries. In some cases, these injuries could have fatal consequences. These risks are only heightened in situations involving nursing home residents with cognitive impairment. As such, the Mayo Clinic dictates that patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s are likely to wander, especially in the early stages of the disease.
Nursing homes have an obligation to secure their entries and exits to prevent residents from leaving in a way that could put them at risk. This includes everything from securing doors to monitoring outside areas. The failure to address these risks could result in civil liability for the nursing home owner or administrator if an accident occurred.
If your loved one has suffered injuries after wandering from a nursing home, the attorneys of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help. To get started on your loved one’s case, call (800) 842-6336, and learn more about how a Louisville wandering and elopement lawyer can help you with your case.
Understanding Wandering and Eloping
The terms wandering and eloping may be used interchangeably. In general, these terms both involve an unsupervised nursing home resident roaming away from their room or a common area in the facility.
Wandering generally refers to a patient roaming the rooms and hallways within the nursing home. This presents a number of serious risks. Wandering residents who need help with walking risk falling while wandering alone. Residents could also endanger themselves by accidentally coming into contact with hazardous chemicals or hot objects.
Elopement differs from wandering in that it involves a resident leaving a nursing home entirely. This can mean walking out a door and into the nearby neighborhood or even into a wooded area. Eloping residents face the risk of everything from vehicle accidents to falls. Those residents that find themselves lost outside their nursing home could also face serious consequences.
Safety Measures to Prevent Wandering and Elopement
Because nursing homes bear the responsibility of protecting their residents from harm, it is their duty to prevent wandering and elopement whenever possible. The potentially high risks of wandering or elopement are in nursing home residents who are mobile but are facing cognitive challenges or memory loss. These residents should be closely monitored by nursing home staff around the clock.
Nursing homes should adopt policies to ensure at-risk seniors do not have the opportunity to roam alone.
Some of these policies could include:
- Check-in and Check-out procedures
- Security codes
- Door alarms
- Protocol for missing persons
- Enclosed outdoor spaces
- Security cameras
- Proper staffing levels
- Outdoor supervision
- Assessing each resident for risk of wandering
These are only a few steps a nursing home could take to address the risk of wandering or elopement. When they fail to take these steps, they put their residents at risk of serious injury.
If your loved one suffered an injury due to the lack of appropriate wandering prevention safety measures, speak with the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm right away. Working with a Louisville wandering and elopement lawyer could put you in the position to recover compensation on your loved one’s behalf.
For a free legal consultation with a Louisville Wandering and Elopement Lawyer serving Louisiana, call (800) 794-0444
Causes of Wandering and Elopement
There are different reasons why a nursing home resident might wander. In some cases, residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia will become confused or believe they are in another time of their life. Other patients believe they are going to work or going about the activities their life used to consist of.
Not all incidents of elopement occur due to some form of dementia. In some cases, residents intentionally leave their rooms or the facility entirely. In other cases, elopement occurs in an effort to avoid abuse at the hands of their caretaker. This is not unusual, given that some incidents of nursing home abuse can go unreported.
Injuries in a nursing home setting can result from understaffing. This is also true of some cases of wandering or elopement. Residents that would otherwise not attempt to leave might do so when their basic needs are not met. This could include residents who are not fed or bathed on time.
Sometimes, nursing home residents roam due to boredom. That is why it is vital that nursing homes provide activities and keep their residents stimulated. The failure to do so can make the residents prone to wander. While these activities are helpful, it is also imperative that the nursing home staff takes steps to carefully monitor the residents. This is particularly true for activities that occur outdoors or even away from the facility entirely.
By failing to proactively prevent wandering and elopement, nursing home administrators and staff place their residents at risk. A personal injury claim for compensation could result in a monetary award for your loved one’s medical bills, physical pain, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Louisiana Louisville Wandering and Elopement Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Statute of Limitations
In Kentucky, you have one year to file a personal injury lawsuit, as Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) §413.140 states. Act now, because you may risk losing your right to obtain financial awards if you decide to file your lawsuit past the one-year anniversary of the incident.
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Pursue Compensation for Your Loved One After a Wandering from a Louisville Nursing Home Incident
If your elderly loved one wandered or eloped from their nursing home, the facility failed to adequately protect them. If injuries resulted from this incident, your loved one could have a viable claim for compensation. This could involve a personal injury claim against the caretakers or the facility itself.
Your family does not have to face the nursing home alone. The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you take on the nursing home and win compensation on your loved one’s behalf. To learn more, call (800) 842-6336 to see how a Louisville wandering and elopement lawyer can give you legal assistance.
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