Many Florida residents place elderly loved ones in facilities so they can get the care they need. Although rare, nursing home elopement can happen and place patients in serious danger. This is what it means and how it happens.
Understanding nursing home elopement
Nursing home elopement occurs when a vulnerable resident leaves the facility without the staff’s knowledge. Often, elderly residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia do this during situations of nursing home neglect. It’s more likely to occur when staff is overwhelmed due to understaffing and each professional is left to care for multiple patients at once. Sadly, even in situations not involving deliberate neglect, this can cause serious harm to nursing home residents. They can suffer significant harm when away from the facility.
The dangers of nursing home elopement
Many nursing home residents who elope from their facilities are confused and think they have some important tasks to perform. Because many of these patients suffer from cognitive decline, they might try to return to a home they haven’t lived in for decades, visit someone who passed away or feed a pet that died years earlier. Whatever the case, elderly nursing home residents face a variety of dangers in this situation. They can end up in high-traffic areas and get hit by a car. Varying weather conditions can also cause personal injury; for example, heavy rainfall with flooding.
Nursing home elopement victims cannot get the medications they need. They can suffer from malnutrition and dehydration if not found and rescued soon enough. Many experience accidents such as falls and sustain broken bones, traumatic brain injury or even drowning. In the worst-case scenario, nursing home elopement can result in death.
No one wants to learn that their loved one has suffered injuries after eloping from their nursing home. You have a right to protect your elderly loved one and act as their advocate and their voice.