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Does Nursing Home Wandering Constitute Abuse and Neglect?

 Posted on June 14, 2024 in Wandering and Elopement

Madison County Nursing Home Abuse LawyersCaring for elderly loved ones is a significant responsibility, and nursing homes play an important role in providing this care. One worrying issue that arises in these settings is wandering. But does nursing home wandering constitute abuse and neglect? The answer is yes.

Wandering can be dangerous and indicate that something is seriously wrong with the care provided in the nursing home. If your loved one was injured in a wandering incident, contact a lawyer in Illinois immediately.

Why is Wandering Dangerous?

Wandering occurs when residents move around without supervision, often due to cognitive issues like dementia or Alzheimer's disease. This can be extremely dangerous for several reasons:

  • Risk of injury – Residents may fall, trip, or get into hazardous areas like stairways, kitchens, or even outside the facility. These environments pose a significant risk for slips, falls, and other accidents, which can result in serious injuries.

  • Exposure to harsh conditions – If a resident wanders outside, he or she could be exposed to extreme weather conditions. In the heat, a resident can suffer from dehydration or heatstroke. In the cold, a resident can suffer from hypothermia.

  • Becoming lost – Residents who wander can easily become lost, even within the facility. This extra confusion can add to his or her stress levels, potentially making it even harder for staff to locate and help them.

  • Encounters with unsafe individuals – Wandering residents might come into contact with people who may take advantage of or harm them.

Wandering Can be a Sign of Neglect

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Inadequate supervision – Nursing homes should have enough staff to monitor residents, especially those who tend to wander.

  • Faulty security measures – Doors should be equipped with alarms, and a system should alert staff if a resident leaves his or her designated area.

  • Lack of activities – Engaging in activities reduces the likelihood of wandering. Facilities should provide plenty of stimulating options for residents.

  • Unresponsive staff – If staff members are slow to notice when a resident is missing or do not promptly address issues, it is a major red flag.

Taking Action Against Abuse and Neglect

If you suspect that a loved one is wandering due to nursing home neglect, it is crucial to take action:

  • Document incidents – Keep a record of any instances of wandering, including dates, times, and any injuries that occurred.

  • Talk to the staff – Discuss your concerns with the nursing home staff and administration. Staff members and nursing home administration should be willing to address the issue promptly.

  • File a complaint – If the problem persists, you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health and consult with an attorney about your complaint and potential legal options.

Contact a St. Claire County, IL Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney

Nursing home wandering is not just an issue of mere concern but a potential sign of abuse and neglect. If your loved one is being subjected to this kind of wrongful conduct, our Addison County, IL nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer at Schwartz Injury Law can help. Call 312-535-4625 for a free consultation.

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