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The Perils of Wandering in Nursing Homes: What You Need to Know 

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

chicago nursing home injury lawyer Elopement and wandering are two of the biggest risks facing nursing home residents. While it is often assumed that elderly individuals with dementia or Alzheimer's disease are most likely to wander, any resident can become disoriented or confused and attempt to leave a facility. As such, it is important for facility staff and nursing home administrators to be aware of the risks of elopement and implement measures to protect residents from harm.

Who Is at Risk for Wandering?

Residents who are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are at greatest risk for wandering or eloping from a nursing home facility. Those who have previously attempted to escape or have become lost outside the facility may also be more likely to wander. Additionally, those with vision impairments may be prone to wandering due to difficulty recognizing or understanding their surroundings. It is important for family members and caregivers alike to be aware of these warning signs so they can take steps to address them before it is too late.

What Can Nursing Home Facilities Do to Prevent Wandering?

Nursing homes are required by law to keep residents safe. This includes preventing them from wandering off the premises and becoming lost or injured. In general, nursing facilities should take several proactive steps to ensure that their residents are not put at risk of wandering away from the premises. These include but are not limited:

  • Keeping doors locked when not in use and ensuring that staff are present 24/7

  • Utilizing monitors and alarms on doors

  • Providing continuous supervision of high-risk patients

  • Offering activities that keep residents busy

  • Posting signage on exits

  • Having an emergency plan in place in case a resident does wander off

  • Making sure there is sufficient lighting around the grounds

  • Maintaining secure fencing around the perimeter of the facility

  • Educating staff about proper protocols for handling wanderers              

While it can be frightening for family members to think about their loved one wandering off from a nursing home facility, such incidents are preventable if proper protocols are followed. That is why it is essential for nursing homes to take appropriate measures—such as keeping doors locked when not in use and providing continuous supervision—to reduce the risks associated with elopement and ensure that all residents remain safe within their walls.

Contact an Illinois Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

If your loved one in a nursing home suffered harm as the result of an incident of wandering or elopement, an experienced Chicago nursing home neglect attorney can help you take appropriate action. Call 312-535-4625 for a free, confidential consultation with a member of the team at Schwartz Injury Law today.



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