What is Nursing Home Elopement?

| Jun 24, 2020 | Firm News

When you hear the term elopement, odds are you think of a couple going off on their own and getting married and you’d be right.

But, when it comes to nursing homes, the term elopement can be dangerous and might not end with a happily ever after.

Making the decision to send your loved one to a nursing home can be difficult because you want to know they’re in good hands and the nurses and staff are providing them with the appropriate care, services, and supervision they need to live a quality life.

That said, one of the most important duties of a nursing home facility is to ensure the safety of its residents.

Part of that is making sure everyone is accounted for at all times.

Understanding Nursing Home Elopement

Unfortunately, there are instances when a resident will leave the facility without anyone noticing.

This is known as nursing home elopement and can lead to serious injury and in some cases, death.

Nursing home elopement is common among residents with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and other mental impairments.

In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that about 60 percent of residents with dementia will attempt elopement.

Tips to Decrease Nursing Home Elopement

To decrease the chances of this happening, facilities can take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of their residents by:

  • Creating supervision schedules for all residents
  • Establishing a dementia unit that’s secure and supervised at all times
  • Identify at-risk patients and continually monitor residents who could potentially become at-risk
  • Installing alarms on all doors
  • Training staff on proper protocols to keep residents safe at all times

Is Wandering Different?

It’s important to note there’s a difference between nursing home elopement and wandering.

Wandering is when a resident leaves a safe area of the nursing home but stays within the facility.

This could mean they leave their room and wander away to another floor.

This behavior is common among residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia who are new to the facility.

A new, unfamiliar environment can be overwhelming and cause them to search for familiar surroundings.

No matter the case, if excessive wandering and nursing home elopement are not managed properly, it’s considered nursing home neglect.

Contact us today if you’re interested in a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling assisted living neglect and abuse litigation.