Nursing homes have several responsibilities for their residents. They take care of their medical needs, help with basic life tasks, and provide food and shelter. However, there is another function that nursing homes have. They have a responsibility for keeping their residents safe.
One of the habits of dementia is wandering away. It is up to nursing homes to keep patients from doing that. Patients who have gotten this far are usually defenseless against anything that might happen. Dementia isn’t the only cause for wandering though. If conditions are bad enough, or if security is lax enough, a healthy patient may wander away just to get away.
We don’t know everything that happened to the man who wandered away in today’s story, but here is what the news is reporting. A man in his 60’s, blind, wandered away from a nursing home. His body was found a mile away from the facility. Police believe there was no foul play and that the death was sudden. It is uncertain whether the man was struck by a car or died of natural causes.
Local neighbors say this isn’t the first patient they’ve seen wandering out of the facility. They believe the facility is understaffed and cannot keep track of all the residents. One resident of the facility said that there is a procedure to sign out, and that residents wear a bracelet that alerts staff when they leave.
Regardless of the reasons why, allowing a resident who cannot take care of themselves to leave a facility on their own is troubling. Facilities have a duty of care toward their residents. If this isn’t followed, they must be penalized.
Do you have a loved one that keeps wandering out of a facility? Do the workers there seem to ignore the problem? Get legal help. Call Schenk Smith Trial Attorneys. Our attorneys have years of experience fighting on behalf of the elderly and their families who have been abused by nursing homes.