If you learn your loved one is frequently wandering the facility without supervision or manages to leave the nursing home altogether, it is time to talk to a legal professional.
When you entrust your loved one to a nursing home, you expect they will receive the professional care, attention, and support they deserve. Unfortunately, many facilities fail to honor this responsibility by understaffing and overworking their employees. This can result in situations where residents are able to wander away and endanger themselves due to neglect.
Our Albuquerque nursing home elopement and wandering lawyers can help you hold your loved one’s facility responsible for neglect and fight to recover compensation for damages. Our team at Harvey & Foote Law Firm has handled thousands of cases and has the experience, resources, and skills required to prevail. We have repeatedly taken on many of New Mexico’s worst offenders, giving us a hometown advantage that we will put to work for you and your family.
We understand the sensitivity of these situations and invite you to schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about how we can help. Call (505) 295-2245 or contact us online to get started. Se habla español.
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What Is Nursing Home “Wandering?”
Nursing home “wandering” is exactly what it sounds like: A resident may wander from their room or a common space to an unsupervised area without the knowledge of facility staff. They may wander out of boredom, curiosity, hunger, thirst, or confusion. In some cases, being over- or undermedicated can influence wandering. Residents with conditions that impact mental faculties are also more likely to wander.
Understanding the cause of and motivation behind a resident’s wandering is an important part of keeping them safe. Nursing homes must take steps to protect residents, which should include implementing a plan to prevent or reduce the likelihood of wandering.
What Is Nursing Home “Elopement?”
Think of elopement as the escalation of wandering. It occurs when a nursing home resident wanders entirely out of the facility. Residents who elope tend to be unaware of the seriousness of what they are doing. They may think they are merely returning “home,” visiting a friend or relative, or carrying out an important task.
Why Is Nursing Home Wandering or Elopement Dangerous?
When a resident leaves the supervision of a nursing home’s staff, they may unintentionally place themselves in dangerous situations. Even if they do not leave the facility, they may wander into areas that are not designed for residents, such as back-of-house rooms. If they do manage to elope, it will be much more difficult to track them down, and they will frequently enter dangerous areas, such as active roadways, where they could be seriously injured or even killed.
If facility employees do not know where a resident physically is, they will be unable to immediately help if the wandering or eloping resident is in danger or hurt themselves. That is why nursing homes are required to try to curb wandering and elopement whenever possible.
At the Harvey & Foote Law Firm, we have a complete understanding of the dangers of wandering and elopement and are determined to help families impacted by neglect. If your loved one suffered serious or fatal injuries after wandering within or away from their facility, turn to our Albuquerque nursing home wandering and elopement attorneys for compassionate, results-oriented assistance.
How Can Wandering or Elopement Be a Result of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
Nursing homes are required to provide a safe environment to all residents. That includes training employees about how to respond to and limit the possibility of wandering and elopement. Nursing homes must also ensure their facilities are adequately staffed to ensure each resident receives an adequate level of supervision and care. If a particular resident has a known history of wandering, additional protocols should be in place to protect them.
It is also common that anti-elopement equipment such as automatic locking doors or alarm anklets are not routinely checked or working properly which may result in a preventable accident occuring.
When a nursing home fails to live up to any of these responsibilities, their actions (or lack of action) likely constitute neglect. For example, a nursing home is likely neglecting its residents if it understaffs the facility to the point where employees cannot keep track of all residents, resulting in wandering and elopement. Individual employees may also be neglectful by failing to keep an eye on an at-risk resident who later wanders or elopes, but the nursing home that employs them may still be liable if they failed to adequately train the employee, monitor their behavior, or conduct a sufficient background check when hiring them.
What Damages Can I Recover in a New Mexico Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit?
If your loved one sustained serious or fatal injuries due to nursing home neglect, you have the right to sue the responsible parties for compensation. You will generally be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Our Albuquerque nursing home wandering and elopement lawyers will work to get you compensation for all losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship endured by your family if your loved one passed away
- Emotional distress experienced by your family if your loved one passed away
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