Elopement (also referred to wandering) refers to a situation in a nursing home, assisted living facility or other institutionalized living arrangement when a cognitively impaired person leaves the safety of the facility without the knowledge of the staff. Many instances where a patient elopes from a facility result in serious injury or even death when the individual encounters a world he or she is not equipped to deal with.
Particularly in situations involving patients suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, the patient may be physically stronger than the facility acknowledges, thereby posing a significant danger to the individual as the person may be capable of pushing through barriers that were intended to keep them safe.A propensity to wander
A nursing home patient should be identified at the time the patient is admitted to the facility and re-addressed by the facility as required. Preventive measures should be implemented by the facility to remove the opportunity for the patient to leave the safety of the facility.
Elopement prevention can be achieved by implementing the following measures:
- Provide an adequate number of staff to supervise residents.
- Screen patients at the time of admission to assure the facility is capable of caring for them.
- Train staff on how to identify patients who may elope — and how to re-direct them.
- Use window and door alarms.
- Have contingency plans in place to locate missing patients.
For patients unequipped to face a potentially dangerous world, eloping from the safety of a nursing home or assisted living facility — for even a brief time — can be disastrous. Knowing these dangers, facilities are responsible for keeping tabs on patients’ whereabouts and to make use of widely accepted safety measures. The failure to provide or implement these common sense safeguards in a situation where a patient is harmed exposes facilities from a liability perspective.Nursing Home Elopement Lawsuits
Episodes of nursing home elopement typically result in significant injury or death. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers knows the significance of these cases from both an emotional and financial perspective. Our Illinois nursing home attorneys’ experience with elopement cases involving Illinois nursing homes has enabled us to develop relationships with with the leaders in nursing home and assisted living care who we frequently consult with in these cases from both an investigative and litigation strategy perspective.