Wandering and elopement can be dangerous for elderly nursing home residents, particularly if they suffer from cognitive problems. Your loved one should not be left unsupervised. They could end up walking the streets in inclement weather or navigating dangerous roads and traffic.
Depending on the facility’s location, the eloped senior may battle uneven terrain or dangerous road traffic. They may also find themselves in inclement weather, such as extreme heat or cold.
If nursing home staff failed to keep your loved one safe, and they came to harm while wandering the facility or eloping altogether, you might be able to sue the facility. If you are interested in pursuing legal action, a Miami wandering and elopement lawyer can help.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to explore your legal options and learn if you can hold the nursing home facility accountable for your loved one’s wandering or elopement. Call (800) 842-6336 today for a free consultation.
The Difference Between Wandering and Elopement
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) defines wandering as a behavior associated with dementia that can lead to elopement, injury, and death.
The term “wandering” typically refers to residents walking around the nursing home without supervision, potentially roaming unsafe areas, such as dark staircases or rooms where medications and/or chemicals are stored. This can lead to injuries as well as poisoning.
Eloping happens when a senior adult exits the care facility entirely without staff supervising them or knowing when the elopement occurred. Elopement can put residents’ health lives at risk, as they could find themselves in dangerous situations.
Reasons for Elopement and Wandering
Life can be confusing for senior adults, especially when they have cognitive limitations and dementia. Many seniors can recall events from their youth but might be confused about the present. According to the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP), senior adults can wander or elope because they are:
- Bored, stressed, or agitated
- Disoriented and unable to recognize their surroundings
- Remembering past patterns, such as “going to work”
The NCCDP mentions that newly admitted seniors can be particularly at risk of wandering and elopement, as they have to deal with a big change in their daily lives and environment. In a moment of confusion, they may try to go back to their former home. Nursing home staff should monitor new residents to make sure they do not elope.
However, it is not just those with dementia who wander and elope. Younger and cognitively healthy residents may want to assert their freedom or find the facility’s rules and regulations too restrictive. It is up to the nursing home to balance the wishes of personal freedom with keeping its residents safe and under supervision.
Unfortunately, in cases where a nursing home is understaffed or lacks suitably qualified staff, residents’ needs and wishes might go ignored. What’s worse, staff may not even notice when residents wander or elope from the facility.
Suppose this happened to your relative in a nursing home, and they suffered injury or damages. In that case, you might want a Miami wandering and elopement lawyer to review the details of your situation and help determine if you could sue the nursing home. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation.
For a free legal consultation with a Wandering and Elopement Lawyer serving Miami, call (800) 842-6336
The Dire Consequences of Wandering and Elopement
Wandering and elopement can cause various unsafe conditions for seniors that could lead to injuries and even fatalities. Some of the consequences of wandering and elopement can include:
- Slips and falls
- Accessing dangerous medicines or chemicals
- Heatstroke or hypothermia
- Traffic accidents
- Missing medication
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Nursing Home Negligence
The nursing home is responsible for keeping all residents safe. This includes monitoring those most at risk of wandering and elopement. There are various ways in which a nursing home can and should deal with the risks, including:
- Risk assessments of residents
- Alarms and locks on external doors
- Keeping outdoor spaces fenced and enclosed
- Giving residents the opportunity for supervised outdoor recreation
Unfortunately, nursing homes are not always prudent when it comes to preventing wandering and elopement. However, it is possible to hold a nursing home responsible for its failings.
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How a Nursing Home Could Be Negligent
Arguably, problems in nursing homes may frequently stem from profit-centered management. Not having enough staff on-site, for example, can cause a multitude of problems, including residents wandering the facility or eloping altogether.
Staff might be too overworked to supervise residents and monitor those at risk. The nursing home might also skimp on adequate security around the premises and fail to install alarms or locks necessary to ensure all residents’ safety. Negligent hiring could also be a factor in wandering and elopement. If facility staff lack the appropriate qualifications and knowledge for the job, they may not know how to prevent seniors from wandering.
If you are not sure whether the nursing home is at fault for your loved one’s wandering or elopement, a Miami wandering and elopement lawyer can advise you accordingly. If your loved one came to harm and suffered injuries, you could sue the nursing home for neglect.
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Compensation Might Be Available
If the nursing home is responsible for your loved one’s unsupervised wandering or elopement, you could sue for any damages and expenses. You might be able to recover compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit for:
- Medical expenses and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Funeral, burial costs
Other types of compensation could apply in your specific case. Your lawyer can determine what other financial awards you might be able to seek.
Your Miami Wandering and Elopement Lawyer Can Help
Taking a nursing home to court can be nerve-wracking and intimidating. However, professional legal representation can offer you peace of mind as well as signal the other side that you are serious about getting justice for your loved one.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can take charge of your case and gather the evidence required to prove your lawsuit. We can negotiate with an insurance company and fight for the fair settlement that you and your loved one deserve.
Call our legal team now at (800) 842-6336 for your free consultation.