My parent has Alzheimer’s/dementia and wandered away from a nursing home. Can I sue the home?

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You may be able to sue the nursing home if your parent wandered away – it depends on the circumstances. You may be surprised to learn that wandering (also known as elopement), which refers to a situation where a cognitively impaired person moves about a facility without knowing where they are going, is very common. In some cases, elopement may include attempting to leave the facility. If your loved one has been neglected by a nursing home, you should speak with an attorney.

It's been estimated that there are five million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease, which is only one of the diseases that can lead to wandering. Among nursing home patients, it has been estimated that about two-thirds have some type of cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Patients who are not well secured in their facilities may wander outside and not have the ability to find their way back, which can lead to accidental injuries or death.

Nursing homes must take steps to keep patients from wandering. They must identify patients who are at risk of wandering, and have enough staff members to keep an eye on patients and recognize when one is missing. Doorways should be secured to prevent elopement, particularly with new patients. Technology should be used to alert staff members if a patient leaves their designated area.

If a nursing home fails to take precautions to prevent patients from wandering, or has policies but do not implement them, and your loved one is harmed as a result, you should speak with an attorney. If you are in the Houston area, call the Houston nursing home malpractice attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 855-947-0707. We can help. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

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