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Elopement – leaving a nursing home facility unnoticed and unsupervised – presents a serious risk for residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Like many other issues that can result in serious injuries and health risks for seniors living in nursing homes, elopement is an issue that can – and should – be avoided. Residents who are at risk for eloping should be monitored appropriately, and nursing homes should have adequate safeguards in place to protect against residents unknowingly putting themselves in harm’s way.
Many nursing home residents elope as a result of suffering from some form of dementia. Seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease and various other medical conditions can experience confusion, memory loss and other cognitive impairments that cause them to wander off. In some cases, residents may forget that they live in the nursing home, or they may mistakenly believe that they need to leave in order to go to work, run errands or meet other obligations from their former lives.
There are other factors that can lead to elopement as well. For example, some nursing home residents elope due to side effects from medications. In some cases, residents may also elope in an attempt to escape abandonment or abuse.
Nursing homes can take numerous steps to prevent elopement. They should be adequately staffed to maintain adequate supervision of their residents, and they should have contingency plans in place when employees call in sick or leave early. They should design and implement care plans specifically-tailored to each resident’s individual needs, and this includes making adequate provisions for those who have dementia or present other risks factors for eloping. They should have appropriate safeguards at all facility exits, and they should respond promptly at the first possible warning sign that a resident has wandered off unattended.
If you have an elderly loved one who suffered harm during an elopement from a nursing home, you should seek diagnosis and treatment from an appropriate specialist. You should also find out exactly what went wrong in order to allow your loved one to elope, and you should consult an attorney about taking legal action. The medical bills, emotional trauma and other consequences of eloping can be substantial, and your family may be entitled to significant financial compensation for nursing home neglect or abuse.
At Searcy Denney, it costs you nothing out of pocket to hire an attorney. We provide free case assessments, and we do not charge any legal fees or costs unless we secure a financial recovery. You have nothing to lose by seeking experienced advice and representation, and we are more than happy to help you and your family in your time of need.
If you would like to speak with an attorney about your loved one’s elopement from a Florida nursing home, please contact us to arrange your free initial consultation. Call (800) 780-8607 to speak with a member of our firm, or submit your information online and we will respond with a call or email as soon as possible.