Residents of nursing homes who suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairments can pose a risk to themselves and others if they aren't properly supervised.
One of the primary dangers nursing home residents face is the tendency to wander or elope from the facility, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), approximately 50% of nursing home residents with dementia are known to wander at some point during their stay. Of these individuals, up to 60% will experience a negative outcome, such as injury or death, due to wandering.
This highlights the importance of proper supervision and the critical need for nursing homes to prevent residents from wandering and eloping from the facility.
Methods to prevent wandering and elopement
Allowing residents to wander is a form of nursing home neglect, as nursing homes are responsible for residents' safety. Several methods can be used to prevent residents from wandering, including but not limited to:
Enclosed outdoor areas for safe enjoyment of fresh air
Nursing homes can provide residents with a safe outdoor environment by creating enclosed outdoor spaces. These areas not only prevent residents from wandering too far from the facility, but also provide protection from the elements, such as wind and snow.
Door alarms for immediate notification
Exterior doors can be equipped with alarms that sound when someone unauthorized opens them, alerting staff members to the potential danger. Bed alarms can also be utilized to notify staff members if a resident gets out of bed unexpectedly.
Technology for monitoring resident movement
Technology can be a valuable tool for keeping residents safe. For example, residents can wear bracelets that trigger an alarm if they enter an unsupervised area, and the bracelets can also be programmed to lock doors. Additionally, sensors can be installed to monitor the movement of residents.
Locking systems for restricted access
To prevent residents from opening doors they should not, automatic door locks can be installed. Staff members can access specific areas with keycards or keypad systems, or a policy of buzzing people into restricted areas can be implemented.
Staffing and staff training
Regular training of nursing home staff members on best practices for preventing wandering and elopement, as well as on emergency response procedures, can greatly enhance the safety of residents. Nursing homes also simply need enough staff to properly supervise residents, implement safety procedures, and maintain coverage of the premises.
Contact an Alabama nursing home neglect attorney.
Nursing home residents with cognitive impairments who wander away from their facilities face numerous dangers, including exposure to harsh weather conditions, getting lost, and an increased risk of falling. Nursing homes are responsible for evaluating residents for the risk of wandering and taking appropriate measures to prevent it. When residents are harmed as a result of wandering, nursing homes can be held liable for neglect.
However, seeking justice through the legal system can be challenging. Nursing homes often deny any wrongdoing, making it difficult for families to hold them accountable for their negligence. It's crucial for families to seek legal advice from an experienced nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible after an incident of wandering.
At Shuttlesworth Law Firm LLC, we can review your potential legal options and ensure that the rights of your loved one are protected. We have a longstanding reputation for providing exceptional legal representation in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect.
To see how an experienced nursing home neglect attorney can help you, contact us today for a free case evaluation. We're based in Birmingham and handle cases throughout Alabama.