Walk Away Resident Wanders From Michigan Nursing Home

At Buckfire & Buckfire P.C., you will find experienced nursing home neglect attorneys.  Our Michigan based lawyers are experts at investigating wandering and elopement cases and using the evidence obtained to cultivate a lawsuit.

Wandering is defined as:a common behavior that can cause great risk for the person. Leaving a safe area and entering into harm’s way.” Elopement is defined as: “Unattended wandering that goes out of bounds.” Wandering and elopement can result in a person being lost at night, dressed inappropriately, and unable to take many ordinarily routine steps to ensure his or her personal safety and security. This is a situation of great urgency!

Wandering and elopement are both considered dangerous and even deathly acts. If your loved one was placed at a nursing home and they wandered away from supervision and were seriously injured or even died, that nursing home should be held accountable for their negligence.

Wandering and Elopement Prevention 

The individualized approach is a common approach used to prevent wandering or eloping in a nursing home.  This requires having staff closely attend to the at-risk resident’s specific physical, social, and emotional needs. The staff members should be trained to be particularly responsive to patients with dementia who exhibit behaviors such as excessive walking, show signs of anxiety or agitation, or verbalize a “need to get home.”

Residents with dementia are less able to control their environment; it is important to adapt the immediate environment to their needs as much as possible. Staff members should learn to recognize and promptly resolve the resident’s hunger, thirst, and toileting urges and seek to improve the surrounding climate and noise levels for residents likely to walk away. 

During mealtime, staff should encourage at-risks residents to sit with other residents, this will allow for more supervision. For residents capable of movement and exercise, physical activities help them stay busy, relaxed, oriented to time and place, and interested in their surroundings; it is important to give these residents opportunities to be active, regardless of their cognitive limitations. Increasing at-risk residents’ level of participation in interactive activities designed to enrich the social environment has also been shown to prevent boredom and lessen wandering behavior.

Carefully designed environmental interventions can enhance the safety of the resident.  A common way to housing at-risk residents is to place them in a locked dementia unit. Although this measure might keep residents safer, it deprives them of freedom and is not a guarantee against elopement.

Other facility-wide interventions might include establishing controlled indoor and outdoor areas where residents can wander freely, such as outdoor wander gardens; however, to promote better supervision, access to any outdoor area should be located in a central area of the living space. Having fewer residents per living area has also been found to improve residents’ orientation, decreasing wandering behavior by promoting their ability to navigate around the facility. Signs should be posted to remind visitors not to assist residents in leaving the facility. (more…)

Prevent Walk Away Deaths in Michigan Nursing Homes

Our Michigan nursing home neglect attorneys are experts at investigating cases involving residents who wander or elope from nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Wandering and elopement occur when a resident leaves the nursing home, assisted living facility or even their room without permission or proper assistance. Wandering and elopement are not only dangerous for the resident; it can also be deadly.

Nursing homes or assisted living facilities should provide the best possible care, if negligence occurs, they should be held responsible.  When injuries or even death occur due to improper care and supervision, it can give rise to a lawsuit for nursing home neglect against that Michigan nursing home.

Assessing a patients risk for wandering can be challenging at times because wandering can be defined in numerous ways.  However, several tools are available to determine an individual’s tendency to wander. These tools are concisely described below:

  • Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI): a seven-point rating scale used to assess the frequency with which the patient displays any of 29 behaviors associated with agitation, a risk factor for wandering.
  • The Rating Scale for Aggressive Behavior in the Elderly (RAGE): the observer will rate the frequency with which the patient exhibits any of 21 aggressive behaviors during a 3-day period.
  • The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI): a questionnaire used to score the frequency, severity, and distress associated with 10 to 12 behavioral areas common in dementia.
  • The Revised Algase Wandering Scale (RAWS): RAWS was designed specifically to assess an individual’s risk of wandering and comes in two forms:
  1. The community version (RAWS-CV): includes 37 areas that fall within five subscales. The rating scale is 1 to 5, with 1 indicating “never or unable” and 5 indicating “always.”
  2. LTC version (RAWS-LTC): a 1 to 4 scale (1=not a wanderer; 4=problem wanderer) to score patients on 19 areas allocated into three subscales: persistent walking, spatial disorientation, and eloping. Protecting Wandering Patients

Safe and free movement is necessary for risk free patients, but Michigan nursing homes and assisted living facilities need to have alternative barriers to keep patients who have dementia, or may be confused or agitated safe. These patients can be identified by a caregiver, nursing home doctor or medical team who properly administer one of the above listed procedures. If a nursing home does not provide the proper means of protection for wandering patients, serious injuries and even death can occur. (more…)

Patient Risk For Elopement From Michigan Nursing Home

Buckfire & Buckfire P.C. nursing home injury lawyers represent residents and their families for injuries suffered due to wandering, or elopement from a Michigan nursing home or assisted living facility. Elopement is when a resident experiences walking in an unsupervised and unsafe area. When a resident successfully leaves the nursing home or assisted living facility the possibility of entering into harm’s way is large, and many of times serious injury or even death can result.  Claims for injuries or even death suffered during wandering and elopement will be brought against the responsible nursing home or assisted living facility.  Our experienced nursing home injury attorneys have an in-depth understanding of lawsuits involving wandering and elopement cases against Michigan nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Nursing homes are accountable for upholding a safe environment. Unfortunately, many times these facilities fall short and a resident suffers a serious injury, or even death, due to wandering and elopement in a Michigan nursing home.  When poor care and oversight is happens the facility should be held accountable.

Decrease Patient Elopement From Michigan Nursing Home

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Michigan can decrease the risk of wandering and ensure the safety of residents by establishing policies and procedures that require assessing residents on admission and reevaluating their behaviors frequently to identify potential wanderers.  In fact, nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid are required by the Federal regulations to conduct a complete and accurate assessment of each resident’s needs no later than 14 days after the admission.

In addition, an assessment must be repeated at least every 3 months thereafter. If a significant change in the resident’s physical or mental condition occur, then immediately reassessment is required. Performing an assessment as soon as possible after admission is ideal because studies have shown “most elopement occurs within 48 hours of admission.” The assessment of elopement risk should be recorded in the residents’ charts, and the facility should institute a proper procedure for notifying all staff of high-risk residents.

Proper Procedures To Prevent Patient Elopement From Michigan Nursing Home

Proper training and support is extremely important for the Michigan nursing home facilities’ staff.  Besides the caretakers themselves, staff members not directly involved in resident care, new employees and all visitors should be informed of the facility’s policies and procedures for preventing wandering. This is important because uninformed visitors could inadvertently compromise the safety measures in place by allowing dementia patients to pass through routinely locked doors. If you have a family member that was seriously injured or even died due to wandering, contact one our experienced Michigan nursing home injury attorneys. (more…)

Resident Elopement From Michigan Nursing Homes

Our Michigan nursing home neglect attorneys are experts at investigating cases involving elopement from a nursing home.  Elopement occurs when a resident leaves the nursing home without authorization or appropriate supervision. Elopement, no matter which type, is dangerous and even deadly at times. When a patient wanders from a nursing home and is injured or dies, it can give rise to a claim for nursing home neglect against that Michigan nursing home.

Types of Elopement From Nursing Home 

 Elopement can be divided into several different classifications.  Below are a few common classifications:

  •  Wandering
  • Environmentally cued wandering
  • Reminiscent/fantasy wandering
  • Tactile wandering
  • Recreational Wandering
  • Agitated purposeful wandering

Who Is At Risk For Elopement From Nursing Homes? 

 Some patients should be classified as “chronic” wanderers, because they have successfully wandered away from the nursing home several times. “Chronic” wanderers should be given special supervision from the nursing home staff.  In fact, Michigan nursing homes should run proper assessments of each and every resident to classify who is at risk to elope from the facility.

A recent review of nursing home elopement claims found that “80% of elopement cases involved residents described as “chronic” wanderers. When proper precautions are not taken by the nursing home, it can result in severe injuries and even death of a patient. 

Preventing Resident Elopement in Michigan Nursing Homes 

There are many preventative measures a Michigan nursing home can take to prevent patients from wandering away.  These preventative measures include:

  • Provide an adequate number of staff to supervise residents.
  • Screen patients at the time of admission to assure the facility is capable of caring for them.
  • Train staff on how to identify patients who may elope — and how to re-direct them.
  • Use window and door alarms.
  • Have contingency plans in place to locate missing patients. (more…)

Patients Wandering From Nursing Homes in Michigan

The Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. nursing home neglect attorneys have significant experience in cases involving a patient wandering from nursing home in Michigan. Most family members place their loved ones into a nursing home because they can no longer care for themselves.  Family members trust the nursing home to be responsible for their loved one, which includes overseeing and ensuring that the resident is not put in a dangerous situation.

However, many residents manage to wander away or elope from the nursing home ground, which often puts them at high risk for injury, attack, exposure, and even death. Wandering occurs when a resident successfully leaves the nursing facility undetected and unsupervised and enters into harm’s way.  Wandering is not just limited to a patient leaving the facility, but also wandering from a room, or elsewhere in the facility can be considered neglect if injury has occurred.

Legal Rights of Patients Wandering From Nursing Homes in Michigan

A nursing home is responsible for properly monitoring a patient, as well as assessing if he or she is at risk for wandering. When a resident wanders from nursing home and suffers injuries, the Michigan nursing home is responsible, and a nursing home neglect claim may be able to be pursued.  If the resident is killed due to wandering from the nursing home, then the family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the Michigan nursing home. (more…)

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