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Apr 5, 2022 by |

Marin County Nursing Home And Elder Abuse Attorneys: Dangers Of Elopement (Wandering) By Dementia Patients

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

High Level Of Supervision Required For Dementia Patients

Liability For Failure To Monitor

Injuries And Death Resulting From Wandering

A very dangerous, and sadly common, behavior pattern of Alzheimer sufferers and persons with other forms of dementia is wandering away, also known as elopement.  Older sufferers still living at home may set off from their home and lose their way, dementia patients in nursing homes and care facilities may leave the premises and disappear.  When Alzheimer’s patients are in a nursing home or memory care facility or under the care of in-home caregivers, caregivers and staff can only prevent elopement if they regularly monitor and supervise patients.  Many facilities use an alarm system to alert staff when a resident leaves the building.  In whatever way the monitoring responsibility is carried out, facilities and in-home caregivers should be held accountable if their negligence or inattention allows a dementia patient to wander off and be harmed. Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents older persons and their families against anyone responsible for failing to adequately supervise.  If someone you love has been injured as a result of wandering off from a nursing facility or away from a caregiver in Marin County or elsewhere in California call us today at 415-441-8669, and we can help.  We will pursue all persons responsible for a senior’s injury under the Elder Abuse Act, Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15600 et seq. including recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing suit under Section 15657 of the Act. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Recent Example Of Injury From Elopement

In a recent case[1] covered in the news, a family went to visit a loved one in a facility over the holidays.  She was not in her room or anywhere else in the facility and the facility’s staff could not tell them where she was.  The family eventually found her lying in the road with “massive” head injuries. Unbeknownst to staff, she had exited the building into the darkness and fallen off a curb, according to a lawsuit the family brought against the facility.  When the family sought video footage of the incident to better understand how the patient could have left the building unnoticed they were informed that the facility did not have any security cameras.  As a family member put it, “There’s cameras at McDonald’s, there’s cameras at the bank, there’s cameras at the county building, there’s cameras at the State House, there’s cameras in animal shelters, but we don’t have cameras in the exits and entrances and the public areas of nursing homes.”

Preventing Elopement

Studies indicate that nearly a third of nursing home residents and up to 70 percent of community-dwelling older adults suffering from cognitive decline wander from their supervised homes at least once during their stay. There is monitoring technology that can help provided facilities and caregivers employ the technology. Bracelets that lock exits when a resident walks by are fairly common. Shoes with GPS chips send alerts if the wearer walks beyond certain programmed coordinates. Supervised walks are also helpful because they allow the patient a beneficial walk out in the fresh air and sunshine.  Many patients wander because they simply are sick of being inside, and an accompanied walk outdoors can restore their spirits.  If you are in the process of evaluating a facility for an older loved one with Alzheimer’s make sure they are fully licensed and adequately staffed.  Much nursing home abuse and injury arises from neglect, abandonment or elopement due to understaffing.

Contact Us

If you have a loved one injured from elopement or any other kind of elder abuse or neglect, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other elder and nursing home abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. is not involved in the case in any way,

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