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Why Are Wandering and Elopement Such Serious Concerns in Nursing Homes?

Posted on December 16, 2020 in Wandering and Elopement

Chicago nursing home injury attorneyTransitioning from an independent or somewhat independent life to a life lived within the bounds of a nursing home can be a major adjustment for elderly and disabled people. Nursing home residents who are struggling with nursing home rules and restrictions may even attempt to “escape” the facility. The threat of wandering and elopement is especially concerning when a resident has Alzheimer’s disease or another illness that affects his or her ability to think clearly. Residents who wander into unsafe areas of the nursing home or who leave the facility unnoticed may be seriously injured or even killed.

Wandering Around the Facility Unsupervised Can Be Very Dangerous

The term “wandering” refers to a resident roaming a nursing home facility unsupervised. The level of independence nursing home residents can enjoy varies greatly from person to person. Some residents are fully capable of getting out of bed and going to a communal space such as a dining hall on their own. Others need help moving safely from place to place. Staff should be aware of residents’ limitations and should provide assistance and supervision accordingly. The biggest concern when it comes to wandering is that a resident will get into an unsafe situation. Residents who wander may go into a kitchen area and burn themselves or slip and fall in a hidden corner of the facility where they are not discovered for hours.

Elopement is Often Deadly

When residents do not realize the consequences of their actions, are confused, or simply want to go home, they may try to leave the facility. This is referred to as elopement. Nursing home residents who leave the facility – especially those with impaired cognition – may become lost and unsure of how to get back inside. They may trip, slip, or fall and seriously injure themselves. They may even wander into traffic and be hit by a car. Sadly, elopement can have deadly consequences. About 70 percent of the claims brought against negligent facilities for resident elopement involve a resident’s death.

A nursing home may be liable for a resident’s death or injury due to wandering or elopement if:

  • The facility contained insufficient or nonworking safety features such as locks and alarms
  • The facility was understaffed or contained staff who were not properly trained in preventing wandering and elopement
  • Staff failed to adequately monitor residents

Contact a Cook County Wandering and Elopement Lawyer

If your loved one was injured or killed in a nursing home after wandering or eloping, contact Schwartz Injury Law. You may be able to hold the facility responsible for your loved one’s injury or death though a civil claim. Call 312-535-4625 and schedule a confidential, free consultation with a skilled Chicago nursing home injury attorney.



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