Wandering and eloping unsupervised can result in serious injuries and even death for elderly nursing home residents, and is particularly concerning when they suffer from cognitive problems such as dementia.
“Wandering” generally refers to a resident roaming the nursing home unsupervised and potentially injuring themselves by ambulating through areas that may be unsafe for them. A wandering resident could gain access to harmful chemicals or unsafe areas such as stairwells. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), wandering is a behavior that is typically associated with dementia and can result in elopement, injury, and death.
“Eloping” generally refers to a nursing home resident leaving the property entirely, which can be extremely dangerous, as it can subject a resident to various unsafe situations. The elderly person may have to contend with unfamiliar roads and traffic, as well as uneven road surfaces, for example. They may risk exposure to inclement weather such as heat or cold, and may not be able to find back to the nursing home by themselves.
The consequences of elopement can be falls, fractures, bruises, hypothermia, and heat stroke to name just a few, resulting in costly medical bills and much pain for the senior. In the worst-case scenario, wandering and elopement can prove fatal.
If your relative has suffered from injuries and other damages due to wandering unsupervised, you could receive compensation. Contacting your Tucson wandering and elopement lawyer can help you weigh your legal options. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to determine whether you have a case.
Preventing Wandering and Elopement
Nursing homes have the responsibility to protect their residents from harm. This includes preventing any unauthorized wandering and eloping. Residents that are fully mobile, yet have cognitive impairment and dementia, may be most at risk for eloping and should be closely supervised by nursing home staff.
Since wandering and elopement can have serious consequences, a nursing home should have policies and procedures in place that can help prevent residents from getting into unauthorized areas or elope entirely off the property. Ways in which a nursing home can prevent residents from wandering include:
- Alarms on doors
- Locks on external doors
- Having a missing person protocol
- Providing supervised outdoor recreation opportunities
- Enclosing outdoor spaces safely
- Assessing residents for risk of elopement regularly
- Using tracking devices on residents
There can be other ways in which a nursing home could ensure the safety of its residents. The most obvious of all is perhaps having adequate staff at the nursing home, as well as training staff on how to avoid wandering and elopement.
Elopement and Nursing Home Negligence
When you move your relative into a nursing home, you expect the facility to supervise your loved one and keep them safe from harm at all times. This includes preventing your relative from eloping and any dangers they could be facing outside of the facility, especially if they suffer from dementia and could become disoriented. Nursing homes should be aware of the statistics: according to the Alzheimer’s Association, a staggering six in ten Alzheimer patients will wander.
The nursing home needs to identify those most at risk and prevent their wandering and elopement. Unfortunately, negligence of staff and nursing home administration can be responsible for unauthorized wandering and elopement of nursing home residents.
How can a nursing home be negligent?
Staff may not supervise at-risk residents adequately, or fail to respond to any door alarms alerting them to unauthorized movements. The nursing home might neglect the maintenance of door alarms, which can lead to malfunction. A nursing home could also be negligent if it fails to hire the number of employees required to supervise residents, or if it continues to employ staff that show poor performance of their duties in keeping residents safe from harm.
If your loved one wandered or eloped from their nursing home, suffering injuries as a result, you could potentially sue the nursing home for neglect. Your Tucson wandering and elopement lawyer will be able to help you determine whether you have a case, and how you could proceed with holding a nursing home to account. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free review of your case today.
For a free legal consultation with an wandering and elopement lawyer serving Tucson, call (800) 794-0444
Nursing Home Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Case
If your loved one wandered and eloped from their nursing home, and suffered injuries or died as a result, you could file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the nursing home. A Tucson wandering and elopement lawyer can help you with the challenging aspects of proving nursing home negligence.
In order to have a case, you will have to prove that the nursing home had a duty of care to your loved one, and that they breached this duty of care. You will also have to provide evidence that the breach resulted in injuries or the death of your loved one, and that there were damages. In a personal injury and wrongful death claim you could obtain compensation for:
- Costs of medical treatment
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Funeral costs
You could also potentially receive other compensatory awards. In particularly egregious cases of nursing home neglect, you may receive additional punitive damages.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Will Fight for You
We understand that taking on a nursing home by yourself can be daunting, but do not let them get away with negligent behavior which potentially endangers other vulnerable elderly residents.
Nursing homes will try to fight any claims and may have teams of lawyers helping them. There is no need to go this alone. Having a dedicated lawyer by your side to help you build a case and represent you in court can offer peace of mind.
We can deal with all aspects of your case such as gathering evidence, witnesses, and any other preparatory work required. We will fight for you and your loved one. Not only is our first consultation free, we also do not charge any attorney’s fees upfront and only get paid when we win your case. There is no risk for you, so call our team today and find out how we could help you get justice and compensation.