I’m very sorry to hear about your parent. This is a situation known as elopement. Elopement is a situation where an impaired person moves around a long-term care facility without understanding where they are going. In some cases, they may leave the facility, which can cause harm.
There are a number of diseases that can cause cognitive issues that can lead to wandering or elopement. It’s been estimated that about two-thirds of all of the patients in nursing homes have either dementia or another cognitive impairment. Studies have estimated that tens of thousands of nursing home patients with cognitive issues wander outside each year unsupervised. Once they are outside, they typically do not have the mental capacity to find their way back, which can lead to injuries or death.
Nursing homes are responsible for creating policies that will help prevent wandering. Nursing homes should train their staff in how to identify patients who may be at risk of wandering from the facility. The homes must be properly staffed so that when a patient is missing, it is noticed. Alarms should be installed that will alert staff when a patient is attempting to leave the facility. Doorways should be secured, and other technology should be installed to alert staff if a patient leaves the designated area.
If a resident leaves a nursing facility and is harmed, there are some situations in which the facility can be held liable. If the resident had a history of wandering or was at a high risk to wander and no precautions were put into place, the home may be found liable. If the facility did not follow procedures to prevent elopement or wandering, the facility may be liable. If the staff did not take proper action once it was discovered that the resident left the facility, the home may be held liable.
Call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Kennedy Hodges if your family was harmed by leaving a nursing home. We can be reached at 855-947-0707. We can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.