Elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be seriously injured or even killed if they are not properly monitored. Without proper monitoring, these residents can wander into unsafe or unprotected areas of the nursing home or even outside. When families place their loved one in a nursing home, they trust that the staff will keep them safe. Far too often, nursing home corporations do not adequately budget for staffing levels sufficient to provide adequate monitoring of confused patients suffering from dementia. The result is often tragic and why you should call a St. Louis nursing home abuse lawyer if this happens to a loved one.
It is estimated that half of all nursing home residents suffer from some form of dementia. It is very common for nursing home residents with dementia to become confused, wander and try to escape. Residents with dementia are challenging to care for, but nursing homes know that this is a part of the day to day care they are to provide. In fact, many nursing homes advertise that they specialize in caring for those with dementia. To that end, nursing homes are required to assess each resident to determine their risk for wondering. If the risk is there, the facility is to initiate a plan of care specifically designed to care for the residents at high risk for wandering and elopement.
Responsibility for Wandering Residents
Long-term care facilities may be found liable for injuries incurred by a resident who wanders or elopes when the nursing home staff does not follow established policies and procedures. For example, understaffing of medical personnel, inadequate training of staff and lack of supervision of residents can all contribute to an unsafe environment where a wandering resident can get hurt.
There are many ways for wandering residents to become injured:
- Residents enter stairwells and fall
- Residents escape the building and walk into traffic
- Residents escape the building and become victims to the elements, whether it is exposure to heat or cold
- Residents are confronted by dangerous people who take advantage of the resident’s confused state and assault or rob them
Some aspects to such care plans include:
- To consistently monitor doors—especially during shift changes where residents are particularly inclined to wander
- Place residents that have been characterized “at risk” for wandering closer to nursing stations so that they can be more closely monitored
- Using alarms on the resident’s bed, wheelchair or door as well as the residents themselves
- Exit doors should be alarmed to notify staff when residents leave the facility
We have successfully represented nursing home residents who have been injured and killed as a result of wandering. If a family member or loved one has been injured as a result of wandering or elopement while under the care of a nursing home, contact Terry Law Firm for a free consultation.
If you believe that a family was injured as a result of wandering or elopement at a Missouri nursing home, call us immediately. We can help.