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Legal Action Following Nursing Home Elopement or Wandering

 Posted on April 25, 2024 in Personal Injury

IL injury lawyerFamilies spend time and effort trying to choose the right nursing home for their aging loved one. They look at the room size, the food that is offered, and the activities that are available to determine whether it might be a good environment for their parents. While all the conditions inside the nursing home might be a perfect match, the facility’s ability to ensure residents remain indoors and under supervision must be considered. If residents are free to wander unsupervised and possibly leave the facility, it could present a serious health risk, as will be explained below. If your loved one was harmed when they wandered or eloped from a nursing home, speak with a compassionate Cook County, IL nursing home neglect lawyer to understand what legal recourse you might consider.

Health Risks Posed by Wandering

Some nursing home residents suffer from dementia or other types of memory loss and can become confused about why they are where they are. They may not remember having moved to the nursing home, instead believing they belong in their former home. In such cases, they may start to wander, either in an attempt to escape or simply because they are trying to find their way back home again. 

Nursing home residents tend to be under regular medical care and supervision. There are workers responsible for making sure they are well fed, drinking enough, taking necessary medications, dressed appropriately for how hot or cold it might be, and countless other aspects of their daily lives. When residents wander outside their facilities, referred to as elopement, they face serious risks, including dehydration, heat stroke, or hypothermia. Confusion can leave them unable to cross streets safely, leaving them prone to getting hit by a car, and can hinder their ability to navigate, leaving them lost without anyone around who knows them and can help.

Even if they remain inside the nursing home, wandering can pose several risks:

  • The resident could wander into a supply closet and then get locked inside, unable to leave. It could be hours before someone finds them.
  • The resident could wander somewhere they should not be, like the kitchen or loading dock, where there is a high potential for injury.
  • The resident could wander to a different wing of their facility and end up unable to retrace their steps and ask for help.

Where Does the Nursing Home Come In?

It is the responsibility of the nursing home to keep its residents safe and secure. That includes supervising the facility as well as the entrances and exits to make sure residents remain inside, as well as supervising residents to ensure that they are safe and accounted for. Failure to do so could be a form of neglect.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Illinois Nursing Home Neglect Attorney

There are many scenarios in which nursing home wandering - within the facility or outside - can lead to harm, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. If your loved one was hurt while they were wandering unsupervised, you should speak with an experienced DuPage County, IL personal injury lawyer to understand your options for legal action. At Kaiser Hafezi Law, we understand the importance of holding negligent nursing homes accountable. Call us at 630-233-9946 to schedule a free consultation.

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