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Wandering: A Real Danger With Alzheimer’s Sufferers
Wandering (also known as elopement) is a common behavior for older persons suffering from dementia, sun downers, Lewy body and especially those with Alzheimer’s disease. Wandering/elopement is especially dangerous in winter where the patient can be exposed to rain and cold temperatures for a prolonged period. The Dayton and Springfield, Ohio elder and nursing home abuse attorneys at The O’Keefe Firm can represent you or a loved one injured as a result of wandering or elopement which occurs due to lack of supervision by a caregiver or nursing home. If you or someone you know was injured wandering or from other neglect or elder abuse here in Dayton, Springfield, or elsewhere in Ohio, call the elder abuse and nursing home abuse attorneys at The O’Keefe Firm today at (937) 643-0600, and we can help.
Caregivers and nursing homes may be held accountable for resulting injury if their lack of supervision failed to prevent the patient from wandering. Statistics indicate that the risk of patient elopement endangerment is increasing steadily. In the United States, elder advocates report more than 34,000 Alzheimer patients and dementia patients wander out of their homes or care facilities each year. Studies vary on the prevalence of wandering in institutionalized dementia patients, but it is estimated that 11 to 24 percent will wander. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 6 out of 10 persons with dementia will wander.
A lack of supervision in a nursing home can result in injuries or death for a resident who decides to wander. At The O’Keefe Firm in Dayton and Springfield Ohio, we are committed solely to protecting the elderly from this dangerous level of neglect. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be equipped alarms and devices (wander guards) that prevent wandering off or immediately notify staff when a resident has left his or her room or the building. A controlled environment can suddenly become unsafe, mandating that staff be attentive at all times. Falling short of that obligation can have serious and even deadly consequences.
At The O’Keefe Firm we hold nursing homes responsible for caring for the elderly and accountable when they fall short in their obligations. Proper funding to maintain qualified staff at adequate levels is vital. A nursing home or assisted living facility resident suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's requires diligent supervision. When an elderly person who suffers from dementia does wander off with a lack of supervision, the incident requires notification to his or her family members and the authorities.
Implementing a plan that involves putting that family member in a locked room or facility may be an important first step. Without notification or a plan, the wandering does not stop and can result in serious injury.
Wandering off is extremely dangerous for these patients and severe injury such as falls, fractures, and even death, may occur. Report any injuries from elopement to the authorities but always seek counsel such as the elder abuse lawyers at The O’Keefe Firm as well in order to pursue all available remedies against those accountable. Our nursing home attorneys know how to investigate these cases and what remedies are available to the victims. The only way to make healthcare providers change their behavior so this does not happen to another patient is to hold those providers legally responsible when their negligence, neglect, or lack of supervision causes harm.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced nursing home lawyer, please contact us at (937) 643-0600.