Elopement or Wandering

What is Patient Elopement or Wandering?

Patient elopement or wandering occurs when a nursing home resident wanders from a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. Elopement is commonly associated with Alzheimer’s or dementia patients who leave the facility without supervision. This is due to the fact that dementia patients may become confused, forgetful, and need frequent stimulation. The risks associated with wandering may include confusion, physical harm, or possibly even death.

Approximately 31% of nursing home patients with dementia have wandered or eloped. A patient who wanders from a facility may walk into a dangerous street, suffer injuries from falling down, or become injured or killed while unsupervised outside of the nursing home. Although nursing home staff are responsible for the safety of residents, patient elopement or wandering is still a serious problem in nursing homes in the United States.

Responsibility of Nursing Home Staff

Nursing home staff members are responsible for the safety and protection of nursing home residents. Certain precautions and measures should be set into place for all nursing home patients, but especially for patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and particularly with patients who have a history of elopement.

It is the responsibility of the nursing home to properly train staff about obtaining proper medical histories, including histories of wandering, the risk factors of elopement, as well as training on how to safely return a resident to the facility.

Once a nursing home resident elopes or wanders off, it is critical that caregivers return the resident to safety as soon as possible. If a resident does not return to the safety of professionally trained staff and caregivers immediately, the risk of injury and harm increases.

Wandering Prevention

Some ways to prevent patient wandering include:

– Constant monitoring
– 24-hour surveillance and tracking
– Physical barriers
-Technology, such as radio frequency (RFID) products

Hiring a Nursing Home Elopement or Patient Wandering Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home elopement or patient wandering, it is important that you speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney immediately in order to discuss your legal rights.