Nursing Home Elopement Puts Resident Safety at Risk

Detroit, MI- We place our elderly loved ones in nursing homes because they are vulnerable and unable to care for themselves. A nursing home may appear to the be the best option you have is your mother, father or grandparents suffer from memory loss, suffer from Alzheimer’s, have a developmental disability or other issue that makes them incapable of tending to their own needs. Nursing homes are supposed to watch their patients, and make certain they aren’t harmed. But, sometimes, patients are allowed to wander off the premises because there are not enough watchful eyes in nursing homes.

Nursing home patients, who have a tendency to wander off the premises, usually do so because they suffer from a cognitive disorder such as dementia. The nursing home resident may not realize it, but eloping or wandering from their nursing home can be harmful, and can have deadly consequences.

Seniors, who elope from a nursing home, 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 or be hurt or killed in a traffic accident. There are numerous dangers an elderly person especially one who suffers from dementia can face when they wander away from nursing home so preventing elopement is crucial.

The most effective way to prevent elopement is to ensure that a resident, who has a tendency to wander, is closely monitored by nursing home staff. Offering these residents physically and emotionally engaging activities can keep them from getting bored and wandering. Hiring well-trained and vetted staff can also prevent many instances of elopement and neglect.

Staff members of nursing homes should be trained to detect behaviors that lead to elopement. Patients who appear to be agitated or anxious, walk excessively or express a need “to get back home,” may choose to wander away from a facility. If nursing home staff is aware that a patient is prone to elopement, they should watch that resident more closely.

Giving active nursing home residents a great deal of stimulation is a good a way to prevent them from wandering away. Physical activities will 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 adequately provide for a resident’s needs. Too often, nursing home residents’ basic needs are neglected. Thirst, hunger and toilet urges that are ignored can lead to wandering especially if a patient suffers from dementia.

An additional way to prevent elopements is to provide residents with a contained and safeguarded indoor or outdoor area where they are allowed to wander freely. Facilities that have more room for their residents to move about freely are less likely to encounter patients who feel the need to wander off the premises.

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