Newark, NJ- The elderly are placed in nursing homes because they are vulnerable for one reason or another. The may have memory loss, suffer from Alzheimer’s, have a developmental disability and are unable to completely care for themselves. Long term care facilities are supposed to watch over these patients and make certain they aren’t harmed, but sometimes, patients wander off the premises. This elopement can result in injury to the patient and in worse cases lead to their death.

Some patients have a tendency to wander off the premises of their long-term care facility, usually because they suffer from a cognitive disorder. While the nursing home resident may not realize, eloping or wandering from their nursing home can be harmful and even have deadly consequences.

Seniors, who wander off the premises of a nursing home unnoticed, face many challenges in the outside world. If they suffer from a cognitive disorder they could get lost for hours and come to harm from inclement weather. These vulnerable seniors can also be hurt or killed in traffic accidents. There are a range of dangers the elderly face when they wander away from a nursing home so prevention is key.

The most effective way to prevent wandering is to ensure that a patient, who has a tendency to wander, is closely monitored by nursing home staff who can also offer them physically and emotionally engaging activities.

Staff members of a long term care facility should be trained to detect behaviors that lead to wandering. Patients who act agitated or anxious, walk excessively or express a need “to get back home,” may choose to elope from a facility. If nursing home staff is aware that a patient is prone to elopement, they can watch that resident more closely and will notice that a resident has wondered off before they come to harm.

Giving nursing home residents who are active, plenty of stimulation is a good a way to avoid elopement. Physical activities can keep them stimulated and engaged with their environment and other residents. Regular physical and social activities will prevent boredom and reduce a resident’s desire to wander off.

Another way to prevent elopement is to immediately provide for a resident’s needs. Thirst, hunger and toilet urges that ignored can lead to wandering especially for patients who suffer from dementia and have trouble grappling with the outside world.

Another way to prevent elopements is to provide residents with contained and safeguarded indoor and outdoor areas where they are allowed to wonder freely. Also, facilities that have more room for their residents are less likely to encounter patients who feel the need to wonder off the premises.

Long term care facilities are supposed to keep residents from wondering off the premises, but it happens. If the wandering resident is harmed or even killed, a nursing home abuse attorney can make certain they and their loved ones get the compensation they need and deserve.