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Nursing Home Elopements

Also referred to as elopement, wandering occurs when a person who is cognitively impaired moves about a long-term care or nursing home facility without being mindful of where they go.

In cases regarding patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, these individuals may make an attempt to exit the premises.

If your family member has been neglected by the facility, immediately contact an attorney.

The propensity of the resident of the nursing home to elope or wander needs to be identified in a primary care plan; there should be an implementation of preventive measures by the nursing home.

In the United States, there are over 5 million sufferers of Alzheimer’s. This is among the diseases which can result in cognitive dysfunction to result in wandering. It is estimated, in nursing homes, that two-thirds of patients throughout have some type of cognitive impairment or dementia.

There are over 30,000 patients of Alzheimer’s each year who wander unsupervised outside, although this goes unreported many times.

With many cases of nursing home elopements, these patients once outside aren’t equipped to care for themselves, and can easily fail to find their way back to safety.

This can result in accidental injuries, which may even include death.

Prevention of Nursing Home Elopement

Nursing homes, to prevent wandering, should do the following:

Train staff of the nursing home in ways to identify wandering patients. 


Staff enough members to recognize a situation when the patient goes missing. 


Use a wheelchair, bed, or door alarms for staff to be alerted when a patient exits the nursing facility.

Redirect wandering patients.

With new residents in the nursing home, be vigilant.

About four out of ten nursing home elopements occur within two weeks of admittance.

Doorways need to secures to prevent any case of elopement.

In one study of elopements from facilities, half of the residents wander behind another individual going out an exterior door.

To alert staff, technology can be utilized if a patient exits an area designated. Door alarms are available, video surveillance and GPS tags can be used as well.

The most effective way to prevent elopement is for nursing homes to be mindful of their patients who are likely to go wandering.

Creating programs of exercise, having stimulating activities, and permitting wandering in an area that is safe and designated can be measured to prevent and diminish these incidents.

Teaching eloping behavior, including patterns and triggers, can assist caregivers to identify indications before a radudent makes an attempt to leave.

Nursing homes need to acknowledge associated risks with a patient’s elopement and wandering; necessary steps need to be taken for the incidents not to occur initially.

Many patients disabled who exit the safety of the nursing home aren’t prepared to deal with the risks involved of the outside world, and typically sustain critical injuries, or even death.

Many of these deaths due to wandering or elopement are because of exposure, being hit by a vehicle, physical or sexual abuse, or being drowned.

When facilities neglect to implement preventive steps to maintain safety for patients, nursing home elopements can become problematic. The nursing home can be held liable for the sustained injuries of the patients.

Contact us for a free consultation or call Anzalone Law Firm PLLC, at: 603.548.3797.

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