When we make the difficult decision to put one of our loved ones into a Nursing home, we expect them to be cared for! Nursing homes and retirement homes have a responsibility to ensure their residents’ safety at all times. This includes keeping an eye on their residents and making sure they don’t wander off.
Unfortunately, wandering off known as elopement has come all too common at nursing homes across New York. When a resident gets out of a facility, the results can be tragic. It is estimated that up to 31 percent of nursing home residents wander off at some point.
What is elopement?
Elopement is considered unsupervised wandering, often leading to a resident leaving a nursing home facility.
There is an especially high risk of elopement when nursing home residents are active and relatively. However, residents who are confined to wheelchairs can also get out of a facility. Since elopement is often prompted by confusion people with Alzheimer’s or Dementia are also at a higher risk for elopement. These individuals may feel the need to get out of the facility and go home or visit children, for example. These individuals may be more likely to wander off because of this confusion.
Risks of elopement
There are many risks associated with elopement. Any time a resident exits a facility and wanders off, he or she is at risk for:
- Exposure to extreme weather conditions (heat stroke, hypothermia)
- Wandering into traffic
- Getting lost in wooded areas, rivers, lakes, etc.
The results of elopement can be devastating. Residents may suffer injuries or broken bones after they fall on uneven payment. They may miss out on important medications or become dehydrated. In the most tragic cases, they may die.
Nursing home responsibility
Nursing homes are responsible for the safety of residents. To avoid the risk of elopement, the following should be done:
- Nursing home staff should be properly trained on how to supervise residents who are prone to wandering.
- Nursing homes should be adequately staffed to ensure that all residents are supervised.
- Facilities should be properly secured so it is difficult or impossible for a resident to get out.
When a nursing home resident wanders off and suffers an injury or death, the nursing home can be held responsible. If you or a loved one is injured due to the negligence or abuse of a nursing home call The Law Office of Richard Kenny at 212-421-0300 today to discuss your situation with one of our experienced attorneys. Our lawyers and paralegals have over a century of combined experience dealing with general nursing home neglect, abuse and nursing home bedsore cases and we will do everything in our power to get your family the compensation that you deserve.