Knoxville Wandering Attorney
Wandering happens with alarming frequency in nursing homes. It occurs whenever a resident leaves an area of safety and goes somewhere they aren’t supposed to. This can include wandering into another part of the nursing home or the parking lot or, in extreme cases, wandering off the property entirely.
When residents wander, they can suffer serious injuries and possibly disappear or die. Please contact our Knoxville wandering attorney at Brezina Law, PLLC today to discuss whether you have legal remedies for a loved one wandering.
Why Residents Wander
Some residents don’t like being cooped up in their rooms, so they will travel to different parts of the nursing home to talk to other residents or staff. This isn’t really wandering, though. Wandering most likely happens when someone with dementia does not know where they are going. Because they don’t know what they are doing, they can’t easily get back to safety or protect themselves.
Other residents suffer from acute confusion due to an infection, like the flu. Once the problem subsides, their risk of wandering decreases.
Risks Associated with Wandering
Walking around is not entirely bad. Residents benefit from getting up and moving as well as socializing with new people. Even those with dementia can benefit from regular exercise. For these reasons, many nursing homes provide a secure space (like a fenced-in yard) for residents to move about in a safe manner.
But wandering away from safe areas increases the risk of injury:
- A resident can wander into new territory that they are unfamiliar with or, because of dementia, no longer remember. They might trip or slip and suffer fractures, head or back injuries, or a concussion when they fall.
- Getting lost. A resident who elopes from the property might never be found. They could be picked up by a stranger or wander into the woods.
- Someone who wanders outside could die from exposure or an accident.
- The elderly are vulnerable to violence because they cannot defend themselves. Someone with dementia might be loud and scare members of the public who act violently to protect themselves.
Nursing Home Liability for Wandering
A safe nursing home should take positive steps to reduce the risk of wandering. These steps can include:
- Properly staffing a facility so that residents receive proper oversight.
- Creating individual safety plans for residents at risk of wandering.
- Reducing the risk of wandering by increasing sensory stimulation for residents in their rooms or common areas.
- Locking doors appropriately to limit a wandering resident’s access to other parts of the building.
- Cleaning walking paths so no debris or litter will cause a resident to trip.
- Promptly contacting the police if a resident goes missing.
- Installing bed alarms for residents who wander, especially at night.
The above are some of the more common steps nursing homes take. Depending on the facility and its residents, other steps would be reasonable. But any facility that just throws up its hands is clearly not protecting those in its care.
Has a Loved One Been Hurt Wandering? Contact Us
Brezina Law provides full service legal representation to families with loved ones injured in nursing homes. We can review your case and bring a legal claim, if necessary, to compensate for any harm a resident suffers. Contact us now.