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Illinois Nursing Home Residents Can Be Seriously Injured When They Wander Into Kitchens

Posted on in Wandering and Elopement

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: 

  • Serious burns and scalds, which can lead to infection

  • Cuts and abrasions

  • Slips and falls, leading to contusions and broken or fractured bones

  • Hypothermia and death from getting trapped in walk-in refrigerators or freezers, as happened in one notorious case from 2020 

These injuries can become complicated and worsen into other conditions, causing a serious loss of health, quality of life, and, in the most severe cases, wrongful death. The best thing nursing home staff can do to treat injuries like this is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. 

How Can a Nursing Home Protect its Residents From Wandering Into Kitchens? 

Nursing homes can implement certain security measures that make wandering difficult or impossible for residents. Ways to prevent wandering include, but are not limited to: 

  • Performing comprehensive risk assessments on residents when they enter the nursing home

  • Appropriate staffing levels

  • Adequate staff education

  • Installing alarms and locks on doors 

  • Safety cameras 

  • Patient tracking devices that alert staff to residents who exit safe locations

  • Giving residents supervised walks 

  • Implementing a missing person protocol 

Meet with a Cook County Nursing Home Injuries Lawyer

When nursing home residents do not have adequate supervision, they can wander into dangerous places and get seriously injured. If your loved one’s nursing home failed to keep them safe, consider meeting with an experienced Chicago, IL nursing home injuries attorney with Schwartz Injury Law. We have helped many families successfully pursue compensation for negligent or wrongful behavior on the part of an Illinois nursing home. Call us today at 312-535-4625 to schedule your free initial consultation. 

 

Source: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1225&ChapterID=21 

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