Every year, thousands of nursing home residents “elope,” or wander away from the facility while staff are not watching. This can lead to serious injuries or even death. We are working with some of the leading nursing home neglect lawyers and a claim can be filed on your behalf to compensate you or a loved one. There is no fee until you receive an award or a settlement. Please contact us for a free consultation either online or call us toll free at 1-800-992-6878.

Residents Wandering Away from Nursing Homes

Has Your Loved One Continually Wanders Away from His/Her Nursing Home?
Call d’Oliveira & Associates for a Free Case Evaluation!

A serious concern for the families of individuals living in nursing homes is elopement. Elopement is when a resident of a nursing home wanders off without any member of the nursing home staff notice. This can lead to any number of unfortunate outcomes, including the resident becoming locked out of the facility, wandering into woods, or crossing busy streets. Elopement is often associated with dementia patients, but has also been associated with others, including those within the first 48 hours of admission.

There are many elopement deaths each year. At least 70% of all nursing home lawsuits about patient elopement involve the death of the patient. Leading causes of death for wandering / eloping patients include car accidents, exposure (heat or cold causing death), and drowning. All of these deaths are preventable if the staff of the nursing facility takes measures to prevent patients from wandering off.

empty hallway where residents wandering away

Many facilities prevent elopement through both common sense and ingenious ways. Nursing homes and elder care facilities most often prevent patient elopement by locking doors to keep patients in – most commonly in Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia care locations. Others use alarms or location-tracking bracelets that lock doors when patients who are known flight risks come near doors.

One particularly ingenious method of preventing patients wandering off originated in a hospital treating Alzheimer’s patients. After noticing that patients tended to head for the nearest bus stop, the nursing home constructed a “fake bus stop,” one that matched local bus stops in every way, except that buses never actually stopped at it. This allows staff to defuse patient’s need to “get home,” because being at the bus stop makes them feel like they’re on their way, while still being able to keep the patients in sight.