nursing home wandering

Nursing homes and memory centers must properly supervise and monitor residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If they fail to do so, patients may wander or elope, possibly resulting in serious injury or wrongful death. If you have reason to believe your loved one has been harmed by wandering or elopement, turn to J&Y Law.

Our experienced California personal injury attorneys know that wandering and elopement are usually the result of negligence on the part of nursing homes and caregivers. We are dedicated to combating nursing home neglect in all its forms. When you become our client, we will work to hold the responsible parties accountable and fight for the compensation you deserve.

What Are Wandering and Elopement?

Wandering and elopement are far too common among nursing home residents with diminished mental capacity. Wandering occurs when a nursing home resident leaves his or her room and wanders through hallways or into other residents’ rooms, which can result in personal injuries. Elopement occurs when a resident wanders away from a facility, increasing the risk of serious bodily harm and wrongful death. While elopement may result from an intentional attempt to leave a facility, it is usually an unintentional act caused by disorientation and memory loss. 

Why Do Wandering and Elopement Occur in California Nursing Homes?

Residents may wander for a number of reasons. Some environments, such as a clear hallway, cause residents to become disoriented and wander into empty spaces.  At times, residents wander simply to exercise or relieve stress. More often than not, residents with impaired memory wander because they are unaware of their surroundings or believe they are somewhere else. 

Elopement is more likely to occur in nursing homes where security is lax or there is an inadequate number of staff members to adequately supervise and monitor residents. Poorly trained and inexperienced staff members may even mistake residents for visitors and inadvertently allow them to leave the nursing home.

At J&Y, we have a well-earned reputation as dedicated advocates of nursing home residents and their families, and a proven history of achieving successful outcomes inside and outside of the courtroom. Our legal team is committed to helping you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve, whether through negotiation or litigation. 

Signs of Wandering and Elopement in California Nursing Homes

If you believe your loved one may have been the victim of wandering and elopement, signs to look for include:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Certain unfamiliar behaviors (e.g agitation, restlessness)
  • An expressed wish to leave
  • Trying to open doors
  • A history of wandering 
  • Previous attempts at elopement

Wandering and elopement are common among nursing home residents who suffer from conditions like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Conditions such as bad weather and exposure to the elements make wandering and elopement especially dangerous for residents who become lost after leaving the nursing home facility. 

At J&Y Law, we believe it is unconscionable for California nursing homes to allow wandering and elopement to occur. We will leverage our skills and resources to hold them accountable and help you obtain just compensation.

Holding California Nursing Homes Responsible

Nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide residents with an accepted standard of care, prevent them from harm, and uphold the rights to which they are entitled. In particular, nursing homes must develop and implement a care plan for memory-impaired residents upon admission to prevent wandering and elopement. In addition to proper supervision, nursing homes are also required to ensure that adequate security measures (e.g. security cameras, door alarms) are in place to prevent residents from wandering away. 

A nursing home that fails to use reasonable care to protect residents from wandering and elopement can be held liable for negligence. A nursing home may be found negligent for:

  • Failing to follow the care plan
  • Failing to implement security measures
  • Failing to respond to an alarm
  • Not allowing residents to exercise or interact with others

Our legal team will work to show that the nursing home was responsible for your loved one’s injuries and seek damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If wandering and elopement was the cause of your loved one’s death, there may be a legal basis for a wrongful death or survival action. 

At J&Y, our objective is to hold the nursing home accountable for negligence, help you find justice, and prevent other residents and families from experiencing similar harm.

Steps Nursing Home Should Take

Nursing homes have a duty to provide residents with a safe environment and take measures to prevent wandering and elopement. This includes:

  • Monitoring patients with memory loss
  • Educating caregivers and all staff members about the risks of wandering and elopement
  • Training caregivers in preventing residents from wandering
  • Offering residents regular opportunities for exercise and social activities, so they don’t become restless and feel the need to wander

In addition, facilities should be equipped with security cameras, door locks and alarms; staff must respond immediately when an alarm sounds. Caregivers should also assess each resident’s risk of wandering and elopement and develop individual care plans to ensure their safety.

If a resident is found wandering, the staff should report the incident immediately. The facility should record the incident, report it to the resident’s family, and take precautions to prevent a wandering incident from occurring again. At J&Y, we will work to determine why your loved one became a victim of wandering and elopement and fight the compensation you deserve.

Contact Our Experienced California California Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys

If you suspect your loved one has been harmed by wandering and elopement, you need the informed representation J&Y Law provides. We offer free consultations and you will not pay any attorneys’ fees until we win compensation for you. Please contact our office today to learn how we can help.