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Wandering and Elopement: When Nursing Home Residents Are Unsupervised

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

Chicago nursing home abuse attorneyAlthough they may also have other health issues, many residents require the constant supervision a nursing home offers because they have a mental deficit such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Those with cognitive disabilities often have trouble understanding what is going on around them. They may not be fully aware of their physical limitations and can take unnecessary risks when not supervised by nursing home staff. Sadly, many nursing home residents have been seriously hurt or killed because they ventured into unsafe territory while the staff’s backs are turned.

Wandering and Elopement Defined

Wandering refers to instances when a nursing home resident walks around a nursing home facility unsupervised. Nursing home staff should know the whereabouts of their residents at all times. Those residents with cognitive impairments should be closely monitored. Sometimes wandering residents slip and fall out of staff’s sight and are left suffering in pain for hours. Other times, residents wander into an unsafe area such as the kitchen or storage area and harm themselves on the equipment there.

Elopement occurs when a resident wanders off of the nursing home campus. While some nursing home residents may be able to take walks outside of the facility safely, nursing home staff have an obligation to monitor and supervise these trips. When a resident who does not understand where he or she is due to a disease like dementia leaves the facility, the results can often be fatal. Residents may wander into traffic, trip and fall, be exposed to the elements, or even be attacked by another person.

Illinois Woman Dies After Walking Out of Nursing Home

An 89-year-old Illinois woman tragically passed away after the Champaign facility she called home did not know she had left the facility. The elderly woman suffered from severe cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease and walked out of the facility on a night of subzero temperatures. Had nursing home staff monitored her the way they are required by law to do, the woman would not have met this tragic end. What makes this even more unacceptable is that the elderly woman had a history of unsafe wandering yet was still left unsupervised. The nursing home waived its right to a hearing and was required by state health officials to pay a fine of $32,000.

Contact Us Today

Schwartz Injury Law knows that nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. They require around-the-clock care and supervision. When nursing home staff do not fulfill their duty to keep residents safe, they need to be held responsible. If your loved one has suffered injury or death after wandering unsupervised, contact an experienced Cook County wandering and elopement attorney to explore your legal options. Call us today at 312-535-4625 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://axcessnews.com/national/health/nursing-home-fined-death-wandering-resident_5369/

http://www.nursinghomeabuseguide.org/neglect/wandering-from-nursing-homes/

 

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