Nursing Home and Assisted Living | The Dangers of Wandering and Elopement


Nursing homes or assisted living centers in Oklahoma, and throughout the country, must provide care and supervision to residents who wander or elope to prevent and protect residents from injury or death.

“Wandering” and “elopement” are health care industry terms used by assisted living or nursing homes to describe residents who aimlessly wander the facility without purpose or leave the facility without knowledge of the facility’s staff.

Residents who “wander” typically have dementia. They may lack safety awareness and not understand privacy rights of other residents. So, they may wander into areas of the facility where it is unsafe (like the facility kitchen, or maintenance closet fully of dangerous cleaning supplies) or into other residents’ rooms, which can lead to a physical altercation with another resident.

Residents with wandering behavior are at risk “elopement.” A resident who leaves a nursing home or assisted living center without staff knowledge places the resident at serious risk of injury or death. Residents can suffer heat stroke or hypothermia if it is summer or wintertime. Residents can fall, drown, or get hit by a car while wandering outside the facility.

Nursing homes and assisted living centers must identify residents who wander or are at risk of elopement, and provide a level of care and supervision to keep the resident safe from harm. When staff fails to make sure the facility is properly secured, or fails to supervise residents so they don’t wander or elope, the facility is responsible for an injury or death suffered by the resident.

If your loved one wandered or eloped from a nursing home or assisted living facility, and was injured or lost their life, contact GT Law Firm for free advice. Call now at 918-743-3306.

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