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Elopement

‘Elopement’ is when a nursing home resident leaves the nursing home itself without staff knowledge and gets into harms way.  iStock_000005396271XSmall

Elopement in nursing homes is most common amongst residents who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and who are on medications (psychotropic drugs) that cause confusion.  In order to prevent situations where a resident may elope, it is important for the nursing home to conduct an assessment for every resident.  Assessments should trigger the nursing home staff to take precautions.

If a nursing home resident is determined to be a risk for wandering, the following precautions should be in place:

  • Door alarms and bed alarms should be installed and in working order
  • Staff should monitor all exits of the long-term facility or nursing home
  • Keep at-risk residents close to a nursing station or in a high-traffic area to assure many people on the nursing home staff can look after the resident
  • Potentially use physical restraints

Incidents of elopement often occur with residents who are the most vulnerable to injuries.  Below you will find some recent articles referencing injuries that have occurred following elopement.

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  • Jonathan Rosenfeld’s Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

    Police Dog Finds Resident Who Went Missing From Chicago Nursing Home

    An 88-year-old woman was safely found by a Cook County Sheriff’s police dog after she went missing from the Brighton Gardens Assisted Living Center. Administrators at the Chicago-land nursing home call the Hoffman Estates police shortly after they real…

  • Jonathan Rosenfeld’s Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

    Nursing Home Spotlight: St. Martha Manor

    St. Martha Manor is a smaller 57 bed nursing home located in the north side of Chicago. According to the government’s Medicare website, the facility received only one out of five stars, which is a much below average rating. In…

  • JRS

    I understand the need to assess a resident’s competency and protect a resident who is not competent. But there is another side to this coin.
    My mother is in a facility, and we had invited her roommate to come to dinner with us. We were shocked when the roommate, who is in the facility for a (stable)heart condition not dementia, was prevented from leaving by staff on her own recognizance. Neither she, nor her family, were ever informed that she had lost her right to leave of her own free will. Since the family could not be contacted, she was not permitted to join us.
    My question is: do residents of a facility automatically lose their rights, and if so, shouldn’t they and their families be informed if they are deemed incompetent to make decisions for themselves? Shouldn’t there be some written notice of this to a family, with suggestions as to how the family can assist their resident?

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