The Dangers of Nursing Home Resident Elopement

Placing your loved one in a nursing home means you’re trusting the home to take care of them and keep them safe. No one ever wants to hear that the nursing home has lost their loved one. But this can happen, especially in homes that don’t have enough staff to keep an eye on their residents or don’t have effective preventative safety measures to make sure residents don’t leave.

When a resident leaves their nursing home, it’s called elopement. There’s an increase in risk of injury or death and can be traumatizing for your loved one and you. This should never happen and you shouldn’t have to wonder if your loved one is safe. If you’ve ever had a loved one elope from their nursing home, you can explore legal options. An Atlanta nursing home elopement lawyer from Bey & Associates can help you get justice for your loved one.

What Influences Wandering?

Knowing what causes residents to wander would help you know if your loved one is at a higher risk for elopement. While it’s the nursing home’s responsibility to care for your loved one, you could address your concerns if you think there’s a greater chance your loved one could try to wander from the home.

  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s. These mental illnesses affect older populations. They can cause forgetfulness, confusion, and impaired or inability to speak that can make their surroundings confusing and sometimes frightening. People who suffer from memory loss are more prone to wander because they can become agitated or disoriented.
  • Lack of Safety Measures. Nursing homes should have enough staff to know where their residents are at all times. They should also know when people are coming in and out of the building.
  • Elopement History. Residents with a history of wandering are more likely to try it again. Staff should be notified if your loved one has a history of wandering so they can take proper precautions to keep them safe.

What Are the Risks of Elopement?

Elopement poses many dangers to elderly people. The damage can be long-lasting and possibly put their lives in danger.

  • Confusion. Wandering can cause a lot of confusion if the resident has memory loss. They may not know their surroundings and this can be frightening and emotionally traumatic.
  • Injury. Fall risk is higher in elderly people. If someone is walking unassisted and they usually have someone to help them, they could fall and sustain injuries like broken bones and bruises, or more serious injuries like hitting their head or breaking a hip.
  • Death. If a wandering resident somehow gets out of the nursing home, they could be exposed to the elements outside and they won’t know where to go. Extreme weather makes the matter worse. They are at risk for dehydration on hot summer days and hypothermia in the winter.

You shouldn’t have to worry about your loved one wandering from their nursing home. If this happens, you owe it to yourself and to your loved one to stand up for their rights and demand legal action. Your case could make the nursing home implement safety measures that prevents this from happening again.

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