Wandering and Elopement

The Disappearance of a Loved One
Elderly nursing home residents commonly have cognitive impairments. Such disabilities range from periodic forgetfulness to dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Care providers at nursing homes are trained to identify cognitive impairments in the elderly and develop and implement care plans that account for and address each residents’ cognitive deficiencies.

Care providers at nursing homes are also charged with the duty of continuously evaluating, assessing, and supervising a nursing home resident with significant cognitive limitations. When a resident clearly demonstrates a lack of rational appreciation for his or her own personal safety, the supervision of that individual must be increased. If it is not and an injury occurs, it may very well amount to nursing home neglect.

Wandering and Elopement are two terms commonly used to describe the movement of cognitively-impaired nursing home residents both within and without a nursing home facility.

  • Wandering occurs when a cognitively-impaired nursing home resident is permitted to move about the nursing home aimlessly and/or without a rational purpose or appreciation of his or her own personal safety needs. If a nursing home resident with such limitations is permitted to wander without proper supervision, injury may very well occur.

Our Nursing Home Attorneys have heard any number of stories in which cognitively-impaired nursing home residents were left unattended and wandered into potentially dangerous areas such as stairwells, kitchens, refrigerators, and supply closets. In such instances, if injury occurs it is more likely than not the result of improper supervision and/or insufficient appreciation of the individuals cognitive limitations. Injuries resulting from such failures is, more likely than not, nursing home neglect.

  • Elopement is a term applied to an incident wherein a cognitively-impaired nursing home resident, who is not capable of appreciating self-preservation, successfully exits a nursing home unsupervised. An eloping nursing home resident commonly find him or herself in a harmful situation.

Elopements can have horrific consequences and virtually always amounts to nursing home neglect. The Nursing Home Attorneys have heard numerous stories of elderly nursing home residents with cognitive impairments exiting a facility and suffering a range of injuries from fractures and frost bite, to dehydration and death.

The common cause of elopement at a nursing home is improper supervision. Improper supervision is most often the result of a short staffed facility. Unfortunately, short staffing at nursing homes is fairly common and where it exists, wandering and elopement are often likely to follow.

An experienced nursing home attorney is familiar with the steps that must be taken by a nursing home to ensure that elderly nursing home residents who are unable to care for themselves, receive proper evaluations, assessments and supervision. A nursing home attorney will know where to look and what questions to ask to determine if your loved one has suffered neglect.

Our nursing home attorneys are fully familiar with the rights of nursing home residents in under both state and federal law. If you believe your loved one may have been subjected to poor supervision at a nursing home,  Call us for an free investigation and evaluation of the incident.

Call 423-968-4969 (TN/VA) or 828-214-3756 (NC) today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights.