Many families across the Nation place loved ones in skilled care because they do not believe they have the resources to keep them safe or provide adequate care in a home environment. How is it that a resident in Cook County wandered away and was found dead? Ms. Booker had Alzheimer’s Disease and wandered away from the nursing home. Federal nursing home laws address resident entitlements to special services for mental illnesses. Ms. Booker’s needs were not met as she wandered away from the skilled nursing facility. For people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental impairments, facilities have a duty of care that includes proactively implementing safety measures to prevent residents from leaving the facility without supervision.
Safeguards against leaving the premises.
Dementia is a common element for many residents causing them to become confused with their surroundings and navigational capabilities. Measures to enhance security in Illinois nursing homes might include properly positioned cameras in stairways, doorways, parking lots and sidewalks around the facility to capture images of dangerous wandering or elopement, door alarms, and locks to outside. Bracelets and similar devices could be utilized to notify staff members of patient locations, it is crucial that a nursing home staff is attentive and aware of the potential hazards a patient might face if they become disoriented or lost. Patients with a history of wandering should be subjected to greater levels of supervision to prevent repeat occurrences. When nursing home facilities ignore patient records in this regard, they negligently place them at risk of serious injury or wrongful death.
Elopement and wandering may occur when there is a change in the patient’s medication or when the person becomes overwhelmed within a nursing home living situation and they want to go home, or just go. Patients can elope when they walk through the wrong door, or when they mistakenly believe they have somewhere they need to go. Nursing home facilities have a duty of care to closely monitor patients so that they are unable to wander away from the supervised care they depend upon.
Under the Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV, laws are in place to protect the residents of nursing homes to make certain they attain mental, physical and psychosocial well-being while living in a care facility, and address operational and staffing requirements to make certain residents have support they need while receiving adequate care.
Federal nursing home laws state that residents are entitled to receive:
- Medically-related social services
- Proper health care, such as primary and dental care
- Accurate dispensing, receipt, and administration of medicines and drugs
- Dietary services that meet daily nutritional needs of each patient
- Special services for mentally ill or retarded residents
- Personal, material, and financial privacy when requested
- Treatment that does not violate the resident’s dignity or respect
Nursing home abuse.
Nursing home abuse covers acts of negligence that cause or exacerbate existing health conditions or place residents in danger of injury or death.
Violation of resident rights could lead to punitive damages.
Residents or families can sue for monetary compensation for an injury resulting from abuse, neglect, or accidents such as a fall from a bed accident and receive punitive damages for intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Call an attorney.
If you have experienced nursing home abuse through negligent supervision causing injury or death due to wandering or elopement, you should contact an attorney who is familiar with nursing home negligence and legal actions against it.