Wandering and elopement are common in nursing home settings—mostly among residents with cognitive disorders. However, if your loved one attempted to escape their nursing home, it might indicate a deeper issue with how the nursing home treats its residents.
When a nursing home resident wanders around the facility, they could run into hazards, and the staff members may not be able to find them for an extended period. If they elope from (leave) the nursing home, this presents an entirely different set of problems:
- Your loved one could get lost.
- They could become injured.
- They might subject themselves to the elements.
- They might not have access to food or water.
Nursing homes must take precautions to prevent residents from leaving the nursing home, and if they do, it might be due to the staff’s negligence. Negligence is just one of the causes of wandering and elopement.
Types of Dementia
According to a research paper published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, wandering and elopement are common among nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
A resident might want to wander away because they want a change of location from their confined area. Nursing homes sometimes lack the variety needed to stimulate senior residents.
Another reason a resident with dementia might elope is that they want to “go home” or “go to work.” Dementia patients often regress and believe they are not in the right place. If a nursing home staff member is unprepared to handle an episode like this or does not recognize the signs, your loved one could be in danger.
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Abusive or Unsafe Environment
While a nursing home resident might wander or elope because of a cognitive disability, they might also feel unsafe in their environment. If your loved one wandered or eloped because they believed they were unsafe, it could indicate nursing home abuse or neglect.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), while elder abuse goes severely underreported, at least 10 percent of adults over 65 will experience abuse. An overwhelming majority of those cases occur to older adults in community living situations like nursing homes.
Nursing homes have a legal obligation to keep all residents free from abuse and neglect. If the nursing home staff abused or neglected your loved one, and they suffered injuries from eloping from the facility, you could hold the nursing home liable for their injuries.
With any of the causes of wandering and elopement, the nursing home’s negligence plays a factor. Whether your loved one wandered or eloped because of their cognitive disorder or an abusive environment, you can hold the nursing home accountable for any injuries they suffered.
Part of a nursing home’s duty of care to its residents includes having proper safety and security measures to ensure residents do not elope from the nursing home. If the nursing home’s security system did not alert the staff that your loved one was trying to escape, you could hold the facility responsible.
If a nursing home staff member neglected or abused your loved one, leading them to elope, your loved one deserves justice.
When to Take Legal Action Against a Nursing Home
If your loved one wandered or eloped from the nursing home and suffered injuries as a result, you might consider taking legal action against the nursing home. More than 30 percent of nursing home residents in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias study who eloped suffered injuries.
A nursing home lawyer can help you investigate your loved one’s environment to see if they suffered from abuse or neglect, or if the nursing home is to blame for your loved one’s injuries. They can also negotiate with the nursing home or its legal representation to recover compensation for any losses you experienced, including:
- Medical bills
- Transportation costs
- Prescription medication costs
- Nursing home relocation costs
- In-home care costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If your loved one died from injuries suffered while wandering or eloping, you might also recover funeral and burial expenses in a wrongful death lawsuit. This list does not exhaust the types of compensation you might be entitled to receive. To better understand what you can expect, you have the option of consulting with an attorney.
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Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC, Today
When your loved one elopes from a nursing home, it usually indicates a more significant problem with the home’s security and environment. Ben Crump Law, PLLC, wants to investigate your loved one’s situation to see if they suffered from negligence or abuse.
We can build your claim, negotiate with the negligent party, and help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. If your loved one experienced abuse or neglect, it might also have happened to other nursing home residents. Holding the facility accountable can help others, too.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today at 800-959-1444 to reach a team member for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.