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Strategies for Preventing Wandering and Elopement in Nursing Homes

Senior woman holds a cane while walking outside a nursing home unsupervised.

Keeping residents safe should be the priority of every nursing home

Nursing home residents with cognitive impairments, such as dementia, pose a threat to themselves and others if proper supervision is not provided, according to a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

The report cites wandering and elopement as major issues nursing home residents face, particularly during inclement weather. NCBI estimates that 50% of nursing home residents with dementia will wander at some point during their stay, with up to 60% potentially facing injury or death as a result.

This underscores the paramount importance of adequate supervision and the need for nursing homes to implement measures to prevent residents from wandering and leaving the facility.

Ways nursing homes can prevent wandering and elopement

Wandering and elopement by nursing home residents can be a form of neglect, as it is the nursing home's responsibility to ensure their safety. Several methods can be used to prevent residents from wandering, including:

  • Enclosed Outdoor Areas: Providing residents with a secure outdoor space can not only limit their wandering but also protect them from the elements.
  • Alarms: Installing alarms on exterior doors and beds can alert staff members if a resident leaves the facility or gets out of bed.
  • Monitoring Technology: Using technology, such as bracelets that trigger an alarm if residents enter an unsupervised area or sensors to monitor their movement, can increase safety.
  • Locking Systems: Installing automatic door locks, or implementing a policy for restricted access, can prevent residents from opening doors they should not.
  • Staff Training: Regular training for nursing home staff on best practices for preventing wandering and elopement and emergency response procedures can enhance resident safety. Adequate staffing levels are also crucial for proper supervision, implementation of safety procedures, and coverage of the premises.

Contact a Decatur, Georgia, nursing home neglect attorney.

Nursing home residents with cognitive impairments who leave their facilities without supervision face various dangers, including inclement weather, getting lost, and a heightened risk of falls. Remember, nursing homes are obligated to assess the risk of wandering and implement appropriate measures to prevent it. In cases where residents are harmed due to wandering, nursing homes may be held responsible for neglect.

Unfortunately, securing justice through the Georgia civil justice system can be challenging. Nursing homes often deny any responsibility, making it difficult for families to hold them accountable. That's why it is essential for families to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable and experienced nursing home neglect lawyer as soon as possible.

Before she began her career as a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney in Decatur, Jennifer Kurle worked for over a decade as a respiratory therapist. Today, as a partner at Kurle Justus, LLC, she leverages her medical background to offer exceptional representation to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect in Decatur and across Georgia.

Kurle and her partner, Steven Justus, share a passionate commitment to advocating for the rights of their clients. For those seeking exceptional legal representation from a team that combines compassion and expertise, look no further. Contact Kurle Justus, LLC today for a free consultation and discover how we can help you. We proudly serve clients throughout Georgia.

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