As baby boomers continue to age and people live longer, the likelihood of more people with dementia or Alzheimer’s also increases. Because it can be difficult to care for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s, many families turn to nursing homes to take care of their loved ones. However, some nursing homes are guilty of neglecting their patients.

When patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s are neglected, they could wander off. In fact, wandering off, or elopement, is the main form of nursing home neglect. While it might not sound as serious as intentionally abusing a resident, a patient who is left to wander is at risk of being hurt in the following ways:

  • Becoming lost
  • Getting hit by a car
  • Falling down
  • Becoming exposed to hazards and harmful elements

Because people with dementia are likely to wander off due to confusion, and because these patients are often frail and lack the mental capability to protect themselves, it is essential that nursing homes closely watch these patients. When nursing homes neglect patients and leave them unsupervised, patients can get outside or into places that aren’t safe. Not only can patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s get lost, but they are at risk for suffering serious injuries, even fatal injuries.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Residents From Wandering Off?

Nursing homes should do the following things to help prevent nursing home residents from wandering off:

  • Place alarms on any doors leading outside
  • Use bracelets or other tracking devices to alert workers if a patient leaves the premises
  • Perform risk assessments to residents
  • Ensure that there is a proper staffing level
  • Train the staff on proper care and supervision

When nursing homes have the proper training and staffing levels to supervise patients, they can reduce the incidents of residents wandering off and will be able to provide better care to their residents. By implementing safety measures and addressing hazards, nursing homes can better protect residents. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to do these things and don’t have the staff to provide the level of care and supervision that residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s need.

Nursing homes are responsible for supervising and providing the proper care for their residents. When they don’t provide for patients and harm occurs, they can be held liable for nursing home neglect.


Damian Mallard, Esq.
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Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney