Cleveland Nursing Home Wandering and Elopement Claims

Assisting Victims of Wandering and Elopement

Families put their loved ones in nursing homes so that they will be in a safe environment, have assistance with daily life, and receive monitoring as needed. Many individuals in nursing facilities have confusion or mental status changes necessitating close monitoring and supervision. With a lack of supervision from nursing home staff, these patients can wander and even elope (leave the facility), an unsafe situation, which often results in injury or death. This is a type of nursing home abuse that may lead to a viable claim. If you need help filing a Cleveland nursing home wandering and elopement claim, contact the dedicated attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter.

Caption: Hey folks, Allen Tittle here, Cleveland Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer. A common type of case that we see here in our office has to do with wandering or elopement. What does that mean? It means the individuals, the residents, of the nursing homes who have dementia, alzheimer’s, wander away, or elope away, from the nursing home and it leads to catastrophic results. You’ve probably seen these stories in the news: the resident wanders out the door, is missing, is found two days later in the swamp next to the nursing home, dead. Folks, we’ve handled these cases, they’re sad. Just because someone is elderly and has dementia, doesn’t mean they should die that way. If you’ve had a loved one who fell victim of elopement or wandering from their nursing home, and unfortunately has passed away as a result, please give us a call or visit our website. Thank you, take care.

Types of Wandering

Wandering is defined as, “when patients suffer from a loss of cognitive function and leave safe areas in the nursing home or community setting.” A majority of patients who wander in the nursing home setting are those with new dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that a troubling 6
0% of dementia patients will wander. There are five different types of wandering that nursing home residents in Cleveland may experience:

  • Environmentally cued: residents respond to environmental stimuli.
  • Recreational: residents have a need or desire for more exercise.
  • Agitated purposeful: residents are agitated for a real or imagined reason, which then upsets their emotional state. During this type of roaming, individuals can be aggressive or are unwilling to cooperate or return to their safe areas.
  • Fantasy/reminiscent: residents are unaware of their real surroundings and are meandering based on imagining their past surroundings.
  • Elopement: residents completely leave the nursing home or go outside. Elopement is the most dangerous type of wandering for residents because individuals can become injured or even die.

Residents wander for a variety of reasons. In many instances wandering occurs because individuals are in a new setting that is unfamiliar and they feel overwhelmed. Wandering can also happen under other circumstances, including:

  • Changes in medication or routine
  • Unmet physical needs (if they have to go to the bathroom or are hungry or thirsty)
  • Residents aren’t getting enough interaction or they feel unrest
  • There’s a desire to go home or find family
  • They could feel trapped and are searching for what they consider is a safe place
  • Individuals are unaware of their actual surroundings

Residents who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease need attentive supervision. For any individual in a nursing home, their wandering risk should be evaluated and a treatment plan should be in place.

Physical Restraints and Wandering Claims

Some nursing homes in Cleveland use physical restraints on residents because they claim it will help decrease the risk of roaming and keep those at risk for wandering safe. Physical restraints include:

  • Arm or hand restraints
  • Cushions or vests
  • Unmovable lap trays
  • Guard rails on beds
  • Tightly tucked in sheets
  • Any show or application of force

However, studies have proven that physical restraints are often ineffective and can even lead to further harm to the resident’s health, like broken bones, bedsores, functional decline, social isolation, and even death. The best method for preventing or responding to wandering patients is to have diligent supervision over each individual at risk and a well-crafted, individualized plan of care.

How to Prevent or Respond to Wandering

The law requires Ohio nursing homes to evaluate each resident upon admission to the establishment, including assessing their risk for wandering. Each patient is different and no two cases are the same, so the facility must address the risk of roaming on a case-by-case basis. Facilities are also required to obtain information from prior healthcare providers and incorporate that into a care plan to prevent such issues as wandering and elopement. The resident’s family should provide as much information to the providers at the facility about the resident’s mentation and risk of elopement. The more aware the nursing home is about potential risks, the better able they will be to prevent these situations.

Record and report any these incidents to the resident’s family or other authorities. If incidents of roaming occur, then you must alter your loved one’s environment or remove them from the nursing home to prevent possible injuries. Contact the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter so they can help provide assistance to your Cleveland wandering and elopement case.

Call a Cleveland Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Help with Wandering and Elopement Claims

Nursing home negligence that resulted in an injury or death of a loved one who wandered is a serious matter. We are ready to hear your case and advise on the best course of action for your Cleveland nursing home wandering and elopement claims. For a free consultation, call now – we’re ready to talk. You can also fill out our online contact form. We will respond back quickly. We can also arrange evening and weekend appointments, and we can come to you.

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In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, the staff at Tittle & Perlmuter is working remotely, instead of from our offices throughout Northeast Ohio. The good news is that our law firm is fully functional from a remote basis. If you would like to schedule a video consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us at 216-285-9991.