Wandering and Elopement

Nursing home and assisted living residents are receiving services from skilled nursing staff and are required to maintain a resident’s safety.  While some residents mainly need assistance with their physical care, other residents who have illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, may attempt to leave the nursing home or assisted living unassisted or unsupervised. 

This can place the resident at extreme risk of injury from falls, being struck by cars, or suffering hypothermia.  All of these injuries can cause fractures, head injuries, loss of limbs, and death.

Nursing home and assisted living staff must do an assessment of a resident when they are admitted to the facility but must also continue to monitor any changes in that resident, including whether they are trying to leave, or “elope”, from the facility.  It is extremely important to try to understand why a resident is attempting to leave the facility to determine what the facility can do to keep the resident safe.  Measures must be put into place to address the reason why the resident is attempting to leave and the potential risk, versus measures that will keep the resident safely within the facility without physically or chemically restraining the resident.

Only when nursing homes and assisted livings work together with medical professionals, residents and their families for a plan that will be regularly re-evaluated based on the resident’s habits and needs, will there be success from prevention of injury from wandering and elopement

Contact Schall at Law if you or a loved one has sustained an injury as a result of wandering or elopement from a nursing home, assisted living or group home.