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Chicago Nursing Home Abuse AttorneyOne of the greatest challenges faced by any long-term care facility is managing the balance between residents’ safety and independence. The individuals living in a nursing home deserve to have the same freedoms as any other adult. However, their freedom is sometimes limited to ensure the residents’ wellbeing. This is an especially crucial issue for residents with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other conditions affecting cognition.

A key responsibility of any nursing home is preventing wandering and elopement of residents. When residents are not monitored properly, they can roam into unsafe areas of the nursing home or even leave the premises entirely. Sadly, in some cases, wandering and elopement leads to catastrophic or fatal injuries.  

Injuries Caused by Lack of Supervision of Nursing Home Residents

Most nursing home residents are elderly adults who spent decades building families, careers, and lives outside of the facility before arriving at the nursing home. Losing some of their independence and being confined to a nursing home is difficult regardless of whether the resident suffers from cognitive decline. However, individuals with reduced cognitive abilities or memory loss may have an especially hard time adapting to life inside of a nursing home. Some try to escape the facility. Others wander around the facility and become lost. A nursing home resident who wanders into a kitchen, supply closet, or other hazardous area of the facility may be seriously injured or even killed. Injured residents may be left suffering in pain for hours before staff find them.


Cook County Nursing Home Injury LawyerUnder Illinois law, nursing homes have a responsibility to provide their residents with an appropriate standard of care. This includes allowing residents to manage their own affairs unless otherwise specified, keep their personal property, retain their own doctor if desired, and provide any security and other protection necessary to keep the residents safe from harm. 

For some residents, particularly those with degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, this means providing extensive supervision and using other measures that keep residents from wandering around or off the premises. Wandering and elopement (leaving the nursing home altogether) pose serious dangers to residents who are unaware of their surroundings and of what they need to do to keep themselves safe. One area in particular–a nursing home’s kitchen–is a source of many serious injuries to wandering nursing home residents. 

Common Injuries Sustained by Wandering Nursing Home Residents in Kitchens

Kitchens are full of possible hazards when they are navigated by someone who does not know how to protect themselves from grills, fryers, ovens, knives, and walk-in freezers. Residents who wander into kitchens can suffer from the following injuries: 


Illinois nursing home elopement attorneyNursing homes do not only provide important medical and daily living assistance, they also keep residents safe. Many elderly people suffer from declining cognition and reasoning skills. They may sometimes think irrationally or become confused. This mental decline is especially apparent in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. When a nursing home resident leaves a facility, they can get themselves into life-threatening situations. This is one reason that nursing home elopement is so dangerous.

State and County Officials Ask for Help Locating Missing Resident

The Illinois State Police recently issued an Endangered Missing Person Advisory for a nursing home resident who left the facility. 72-year-old Szymon Tomerski was last seen on April 2, 2021. Mr. Tomerski is a white male, approximately 5 foot, 10 inches, and 170 pounds. Officials indicate that Mr. Tomerski is a resident of a skilled nursing facility in unincorporated Maine Township in Cook County. As of this writing, the circumstances of Mr. Tomerski’s elopement from the nursing home are unknown, and he has not been located. The police are asking for the public’s assistance in finding the missing resident. 



Chicago nursing home injury attorneyTransitioning from an independent or somewhat independent life to a life lived within the bounds of a nursing home can be a major adjustment for elderly and disabled people. Nursing home residents who are struggling with nursing home rules and restrictions may even attempt to “escape” the facility. The threat of wandering and elopement is especially concerning when a resident has Alzheimer’s disease or another illness that affects his or her ability to think clearly. Residents who wander into unsafe areas of the nursing home or who leave the facility unnoticed may be seriously injured or even killed.

Wandering Around the Facility Unsupervised Can Be Very Dangerous

The term “wandering” refers to a resident roaming a nursing home facility unsupervised. The level of independence nursing home residents can enjoy varies greatly from person to person. Some residents are fully capable of getting out of bed and going to a communal space such as a dining hall on their own. Others need help moving safely from place to place. Staff should be aware of residents’ limitations and should provide assistance and supervision accordingly. The biggest concern when it comes to wandering is that a resident will get into an unsafe situation. Residents who wander may go into a kitchen area and burn themselves or slip and fall in a hidden corner of the facility where they are not discovered for hours.

Elopement is Often Deadly

When residents do not realize the consequences of their actions, are confused, or simply want to go home, they may try to leave the facility. This is referred to as elopement. Nursing home residents who leave the facility – especially those with impaired cognition – may become lost and unsure of how to get back inside. They may trip, slip, or fall and seriously injure themselves. They may even wander into traffic and be hit by a car. Sadly, elopement can have deadly consequences. About 70 percent of the claims brought against negligent facilities for resident elopement involve a resident’s death.


IL nursing home abuse lawyerChicago is known for its harsh winters, but the summer weather can be just as unbearable. Temperatures frequently rise to the 80s and 90s in the summer months which can present a major health hazard to elderly and disabled individuals. Nursing home residents are often particularly vulnerable to extreme temperatures because their bodies are weakened by age and illness. If a nursing home resident wanders into an area of the facility that is not air-conditioned or properly ventilated or leaves the facility, he or she may suffer deadly health conditions in a matter of minutes.

Residents Who are Not Properly Supervised May Suffer Heatstroke

The older we get, the less our bodies are able to regulate our internal temperature. Elderly nursing home residents and those with chronic health conditions are often unable to tolerate the heat. Residents with cognitive impairment are at an increased risk of heatstroke because they may not realize that it is unsafe for them to go outside. If residents are not properly supervised, they may elope from the nursing home facility and into the dangerous weather. Heatstroke or sunstroke is a condition caused by the body overheating. Without immediate medical treatment, heatstroke causes major damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, and often results in death.

Dehydration is a Critical Concern in Nursing Homes

Another grave concern for nursing home residents in the summer heat is dehydration. Residents with marked cognitive decline may actually forget to drink water if they are not frequently reminded to do so. Problems with swallowing or mobility concerns may also lead to inadequate water intake. Many nursing home residents are also on medications that increase the amount of water that is excreted from the body which can make them especially at risk of dehydration. Nursing home staff must ensure that residents are drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated. They should also carefully monitor residents for signs of dehydration such as infrequent urination, dry mouth, low blood pressure, and unusually pale skin. If a nursing home’s failure to prevent heat-related illnesses such as dehydration or heatstroke leads to a resident’s death or injury, the nursing home may be legally responsible for the harm caused.

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