Wandering & Resident Elopement in Nursing Homes

Major Cause of Injury for Nursing Home Patients

In nursing homes, wandering refers to a situation where a patient who is cognitively impaired leaves safe areas of the facility. Elopement is a specific form of wandering that involves leaving the facility entirely. Both wandering and elopement are especially dangerous for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia, as the environment is always new and unfamiliar to them. This can cause them to feel overwhelmed by their surroundings and seek something that feels familiar and secure.

Other factors that can lead to wandering or elopement include:

  • Changes in medication or new medications
  • Unmet physical needs
  • Not enough social interaction
  • Missing family members or loved ones

Different Types of Wandering in Nursing Homes

Not all cases of wandering are the same. Some of the most common include:

  • Environmentally Cued Wandering – This is triggered by stimuli in the patient’s immediate environment, such as a chair in the hall or a pathway.
  • Recreational Wandering – This is triggered by a patient’s desire to get more exercise.
  • Agitated Purposeful Wandering – This involves a patient who has a purpose for leaving—especially in cases of agitation.
  • Fantasy or Reminiscent Wandering – This occurs when the patient is unaware of their real surroundings, causing them to walk through environments that are entirely imaginary.

Call Our Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Today

If your loved one has suffered injuries from wandering or elopement, do not hesitate to contact a skilled injury lawyer from our firm. By law, employees at nursing homes are required to supervise and monitor patients—especially those vulnerable to acts of wandering and elopement.

If neglect led to your loved one being injured, our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers can help. Contact us at to schedule a free consultation.