When a family member or loved one resides in a nursing home or long-term care facility, you are trusting that facility and their staff to keep them safe. But sometimes facilities or caregivers fail to appropriately provide care for residents. If residents are inadvertently left alone to wander without supervision, for example, this can be very dangerous. Older adults, especially those who become easily confused, are at great risk when they wander into unknown environments or situations.
If your loved one suffered in any way while wandering or eloping without supervision, this could be a form of negligence and grounds for legal action. You may consider contacting a San Francisco wandering and elopement lawyer to help with your next steps. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to discuss your case with a team member and learn more about your options during a free case review.
The Dangers of Wandering and Elopement
Being in an unknown or unfamiliar environment can be dangerous in several ways. Older adults who are exploring unknown territory could be exposed to the outdoors for a prolonged period of time. Depending on the weather, location, and time of year, this prolonged exposure is dangerous to anyone, especially an elderly person. Temperature, high winds, sun, and other natural elements can physically harm someone who is left outside for an extended period of time. Additionally, being away from sources of food and hydration can pose a serious threat. This failure of nursing home staff is clearly a threat to older adults who are left alone to fend for themselves.
Another way wandering and elopement can harm an elderly adult is the risk of falling. While many younger people might fall and recover, older adults tend to have lower bone density and longer recovery times following falls. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls account for approximately 300,000 hospital visits annually for older adults. When left unaccompanied, older adults are at risk of suffering a fall.
If a sudden health issue occurs while a nursing home resident is wandering or eloping, no caregiver may be in sight to react. This delay in treatment can cause serious harm to older adults, or even be fatal.
There are many dangers for elderly adults, such as nursing home residents, when they wander into new spaces without supervision. The trained staff and caregivers of nursing home facilities should understand the needs of each resident and know their whereabouts at all times. If your loved one suffered when they should have been accounted for by staff, speaking with a San Francisco wandering and elopement lawyer could help you determine if you have a case.
How Wandering and Elopement Happens
Elopement and wandering can be both intentional or unintentional. This type of behavior often involves an elderly adult with possible cognitive impairment. Sometimes a nursing home resident may intentionally leave the premises. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including confusion or a pre-existing condition leading to disorientation. Even if a resident leaves a designated area under their own will, this would not be possible without the failure of staff to effectively look after their well-being.
Another way elderly nursing home residents become lost is through the failure of a facility to take appropriate preventative measures. Making sure doors are locked, keys are in secure areas, and all residents are monitored are all ways to help prevent wandering and elopement. If a resident has a history of trying to escape or explore, the staff should effectively communicate this tendency with each other. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 requires all long-term care facilities to appropriately care for their residents, and these examples are all failures of a facility to live up to the necessary standard of care.
Health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, can cause a sense of confusion and disorientation among those who suffer. These types of cognitive conditions can cause a person to grow unaware of their surroundings, possibly feeling the need to explore or simply getting lost. Nursing home residents suffering from cognitive diseases should be located at all times due to the potential for wandering and elopement.
For a free legal consultation with an wandering and elopement lawyer serving San Francisco, call (800) 794-0444
If your loved one suffered an injury or abuse after wandering or elopement, figuring out who may be at fault is a crucial step in determining the potential for legal action. If another party is even partially at fault, you may have grounds for a claim. For example, a caregiver who fails to effectively watch after your loved one could be deemed negligent. Because every case is different, it could be beneficial to discuss your case with a San Francisco wandering and elopement lawyer.
In some cases, victims and families are awarded compensation in a variety of forms, including reimbursement for medical expenses, punitive damages, compensation for legal fees, and more. Remember that there is a statute of limitations in most jurisdictions. Take action now to ensure your right to seek justice through a personal injury lawsuit.
San Francisco Wandering and Elopement Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
If your loved one suffered in any way or was endangered due to wandering, elopement, or the failure of nursing home staff to effectively supervise their well-being, you could have a legal case against responsible parties. Nursing home residents deserve to be treated with the highest quality care possible, but sadly they are sometimes put at risk by the negligence of facilities and caregivers.
Because every case is different, it could be beneficial to discuss your case with a San Francisco wandering and elopement lawyer. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is available to answer your questions and help you determine the best course of action specific to your situation. Call us for a free consultation with a member of our team today.