The family of a Sunrise Senior Living resident has filed a lawsuit against the company for their failure to supervise the woman during an outing with the facilities activity director. The lawsuit alleges that on December 2, 2007, Margaret McCauley went with other residents to a concert at a Chicago-area high school. During the concert McCauley wandered from the concert hall and sustained multiple injuries. The lawsuit claims the staff from Brighton Gardens Assisted Living of Orland Park, failed to:
- Supervise the resident– despite the fact that they knew she had a propensity to wander
- Conduct proper wandering assessment
- Provide adequate staff to supervise
- Take adequate steps to locate the missing woman after her absence was discovered
McCauley was discovered eight hours after leaving the concert hall. She was laying on nearby train tracks. Read more about this nursing home lawsuit against Sunrise Assisted Living here.
Eloping Nursing Home Residents
Within 14 days of admission, new nursing home residents must be evaluated by the nursing home staff for the purpose of conducting a Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (contained in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, OBRA 1987) and specifically codified at 42 CFR 483.20 (b)(1)(i)-(F272).
Part of this codified evaluation requires an assessment to be completed regarding each residents propensity to elope or leave the facility. Residents who are deemed to be at ‘high risk’ for elopement should have safeguards in place to help protect them from the dangers of the outside world. All staff caring for the resident should be ware of the residents elopement assessment and help enforce regulations to minimize risk of elopement from the facility.
Residents suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s are particularly susceptible to eloping from a facility. The following are common safeguards that may be utilized to ensure the safety of residents who are at high risk for eloping:
- Have properly working door alarms
- Window locks
- Door locks
- Bracelets that track each resident’s location
- Adequate staff at the facility to look after residents
- Have contingent plans to locate residents who may wander from the facility