3 dangers associated with nursing home elopement

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | nursing home negligence

Nursing homes should provide a safe environment for vulnerable older adults. Unfortunately, for-profit institutions do not necessarily provide appropriate standards of care for aging residents. Numerous unsafe scenarios can develop at modern nursing homes, not the least of which is a resident eloping or leaving the facility.

Typically, nursing homes need to evaluate residents for elopement risk, just as they check their likelihood of falling. There are support options for those at risk of elopement, including a stay in a secure ward. When nursing homes don’t proactively prevent elopement or wandering, older adults may be at risk of one of the following dire situations.

Interruptions in medical treatment

Someone who wanders off from a nursing home facility could miss multiple doses of important medications. Certain drugs require a constant supply of medication to be optimally effective. Antibiotics, psychiatric medication and chemotherapy drugs can become far less effective if someone misses doses. Older adults who need medication for cardiac conditions and diabetes are also very vulnerable if they leave a facility and do not get the medication they require.

Falls and other physical trauma

An older adult wandering on their own may not be familiar with the environment outside of the nursing home. They might tumble down a hill or even wander out into traffic. Vehicle collisions, acts of crime and numerous other sources of physical injury are possible when an older adult leaves a nursing home without proper support. The injuries that an older adult experiences after leaving a nursing home could necessitate expensive medical care and diminish their quality of life.

Environmental exposure

Depending on someone’s health and the timing of their exit from a facility, exposure can be a major concern. Someone outside overnight could develop hypothermia. Times of inclement weather may increase the risk of exposure to the elements. Hot weather during the summer can also create life-threatening circumstances for older adults.

When nursing homes fail to provide an adequate degree of support for residents, preventable incidents can lead to serious injuries. Understanding that nursing home elopement is largely preventable may help families feel more confident about taking action. Those who hold nursing homes accountable for poor care standards can potentially secure financial compensation and push for better practices at a negligent facility.