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Illinois Nursing Home Fined for Incident Involving Wandering Resident

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer

Recently, a Central Illinois nursing home and rehabilitation facility was fined $25,000 by the Illinois Department of Public Health in response to an incident in January in which a resident wandered off the premises. Unfortunately, such incidents are not uncommon in Illinois, and it is important to understand how you can hold a nursing home accountable for neglect if your loved one is injured in a wandering or elopement incident.

The Dangers of Wandering and Elopement

Many nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related conditions are prone to wandering. With proper supervision, nursing home staff can intervene to ensure a resident’s safety. However, without supervision, residents can make their way to unsafe areas within and outside of a nursing home facility. Some injury risks for nursing home residents in wandering and elopement incidents include:

  • Fall injuries - Wandering residents often lack physical strength and coordination, and they may experience mental disorientation, putting them at risk of falling downstairs or inclines, or even tripping on a level surface. In the winter months, ice and snow can increase the risk of fall injuries for residents who leave their facilities.

  • Car accident injuries - When a resident wanders onto or near a roadway, they are at risk of being struck by a passing vehicle, which can cause a variety of traumatic and potentially fatal injuries.

  • Hypothermia and hyperthermia - Depending on the weather and the time of year, a wandering resident could be exposed to dangerously hot or cold temperatures. The longer a resident is unable to find shelter, the more dangerous the effects of hypothermia or hyperthermia can be.

Elopement Can be a Consequence of Nursing Home Neglect

In many cases, a resident’s wandering or elopement is made possible because their facility lacks the necessary supervision and safety measures to prevent it from happening. In the recent Central Illinois incident, reports indicate that the facility was understaffed, and that the resident’s elopement remained undetected in part due to an alarm system and an electronic tracking bracelet that were not functioning properly at the time.


Possible incidents of nursing home neglect should be reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as soon as possible in order to initiate an investigation. The IDPH can intervene to prevent future incidents and enforce the appropriate penalties for the facility, which may include fines, correction plans, or revocation of the facility’s license. Residents who suffer injuries as a result of nursing home neglect can also pursue compensation for damages through a civil claim or lawsuit.

Contact a Cook County Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

If your loved one was injured after wandering or eloping due to a lack of supervision, the Chicago, IL nursing home neglect attorneys at Schwartz Injury Law can help you understand all of the available means for holding the nursing home accountable. We will take prompt action and do everything in our power to help you protect your loved one and get the compensation they deserve. For a free consultation, contact our office today at 312-535-4625.




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