Families make the difficult decision to place their elderly loved one in a nursing home to ensure that they receive proper care and safety. Most families never consider that their elderly loved one would wander freely from the nursing home alone and unsupervised.
The wandering or elopement of nursing home residents can lead to the elderly resident suffering serious injuries or even death. If your elderly loved one wandered from their nursing home and suffered any kind of injury, learn how a New York City wandering and elopement lawyer may help you receive compensation for their injuries. Consider visiting with our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free consultation.
Causes of Wandering and Elopement
In many cases, the elderly residents of a nursing home have cognitive challenges, which cause them to become easily confused and disoriented. This confusion leads to wandering and elopement on many occasions if the nursing home does not have proper safety procedures in place.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Aging, more than 5.5 million elderly people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. When an elderly resident of a nursing home suffers from either Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, they lose the ability to understand and process their surroundings.
They may suddenly feel that they are in a country they visited 20 years ago or feel that they need to go home to feed their dog that died when they were a child. In some cases, these elderly residents will look for family members that died long ago or think that they need to go to their job.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alzheimer’s disease worsens over time for those who suffer from this condition. The nursing home has a responsibility and duty to ensure that these residents remain safe and away from doorways so that they do not wander or elope onto the streets outside of the nursing home unattended.
In some cases, elderly residents of nursing homes that suffer from cognitive dysfunction may have excellent physical health and the ability to move about by themselves freely.
Without the need for a wheelchair or walker, these particular residents live at a higher risk for wandering or elopement as they have the actual physical strength to walk out of the nursing home and wander onto the street.
Prevention of Wandering and Elopement from Nursing Homes
Nursing homes have a duty and responsibility to ensure that nursing home residents do not wander or elope from the premises without proper supervision. Some ways that a nursing home can take actionable steps to prevent residents from leaving the premise unsupervised include the following:
- Create and provide identification and visitor badges to all guests. Anyone leaving the property must return one of these badges.
- Always monitor residents continually and take extra precautions and care with those elderly residents that seem increasingly agitated. They may not understand why they need to stay in the nursing home.
- Constant supervision should occur with any group activities.
- Make sure to do a complete headcount to account for every nursing home resident following a fire drill or alarm.
- Always maintain appropriate staffing levels so all residents continue to receive proper nutrition, hydration, and assistance if they need to go to the bathroom. This will help keep them from attempting to get up and do these activities on their own and wander out of the building in a moment of confusion.
- Residents that have received a higher risk rating in their care plan for wandering or elopement should receive placement either on a higher floor or in a room away from exit doors.
- Have location tools, such as photographs of all residents, in the event that one resident actually does somehow wander or elope off of the nursing home property.
If you are shopping for different nursing homes for your elderly loved one, or if your elderly loved one is already in a nursing home, request from management their policies and procedures with respect to wandering and elopement.
If you feel your elderly loved one remained unsupervised and wandered off of the nursing home property resulting in an accident with injuries or harm, consider how a New York City wandering and elopement lawyer may help you collect all of the evidence necessary and conduct an independent investigation to ensure your loved one’s rights remain protected.
For a free legal consultation with an wandering and elopement lawyer serving New York City, call (800) 842-6336
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations applies if you choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. According to Section 214 of New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules, you must file your personal injury lawsuit within three years of the accident or incident that occurred due to wandering or elopement.
If you do not file within the time allotted, you risk losing your right to take any further legal action. Do not let a negligent nursing home get away with insufficient monitoring of your loved one. You have a right to seek legal representation when making a claim or lawsuit.
New York City Wandering and Elopement Lawyer Near Me (800) 842-6336
Consider a New York City Wandering and Elopement Lawyer
If your elderly loved one somehow wandered away from their nursing home, they may have substantial injuries from an accident, a fall, or from dehydration or malnutrition.
Consider consulting Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more about how a New York City wandering and elopement lawyer may handle your case.