Escape (Elopement)

Kansas Elder Elopement Attorney

Residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s must be appropriately supervised and monitored in nursing homes and memory centers. If they fail to do so, patients may wander or elope, which might end in severe harm or death. If you suspect a family member has been injured by wandering or elopement, contact an elopement attorney in Kansas City.

Our dedicated elder elopement attorney in Kansas City, MO, knows that wandering and elopement frequently result from a nursing home and caregiver negligence. We are committed to eradicating all sorts of nursing home maltreatment. When you become our client, we will fight to hold the liable parties accountable and get the compensation you deserve.

Why Do I Need an Elder Elopement Attorney in Missouri?

Consult with an attorney if your elder has endured neglect that resulted in elopement. If the nursing home or assisted living facility was negligent, they might be liable for any injuries caused by the elopement or wandering. Many individuals hesitate to pursue legal action because they may not know where or how to begin. 

Contacting our Kansas City elder elopement attorney at Ricket Law Firm LLC now will enable you to learn more about your legal rights and how to proceed with a nursing home abuse claim. We have years of experience addressing nursing home abuse and neglect claims effectively. Most importantly, we understand how to defend our client’s rights. Let us help determine if you have a case for elopement in nursing homes, assisted living institutions, and other long-term care facilities.

What Constitutes Nursing Home Elopement?

In nursing home neglect, elopement is the unpermitted leaving of a resident from a nursing home or elder care institution. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease symptoms are common causes of elopement. Thus, these patients must be monitored to avoid this from occurring. Sadly, family and loved ones of older adults with dementia are frequently confronted with the prospect of walking away. 

A person who has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease symptoms may face severe penalties if they elope. Frequently, these individuals are bewildered, puzzled, and unsure of their actions, resulting in dangerous circumstances. The competent Kansas City elder elopement attorney at Ricket Law Firm LLC strives to prevent this from happening and to provide survivors of nursing home neglect with justice.

How is Wandering Related to Elopement?

Residents of nursing homes who are prone to wandering are susceptible to elopement. Wandering is a prevalent behavioral issue associated with cognitive deficits. These deficits include abstract reasoning, spatial abilities, judgment, and language difficulties. 

Wandering is also associated with disorientation, difficulties interpreting the environment, limited social engagement, and excessive pacing. There are two forms of wandering: goal-oriented and non-goal directed. When wandering is goal-oriented, the individual may appear to be searching for something or someone. They may also be seeking entertainment. People engage in non-goal-directed wandering when they wander and have a brief attention span. 

Alzheimer’s disease patients are more likely to wander. Wandering is not always a dangerous activity in and of itself. Wanderers may be engaging in physical activity or getting sensory stimulation. When a wanderer attempts to elope, though, the consequences might be severe. While a resident who wanders may wind up in another resident’s room or the kitchen, a resident who elopes exits the facility entirely.

What Are the Common Reasons an Elder Resident of a Nursing Home Elope?

Residents of nursing homes may wander into or elope of the facility due to the:

Alzheimer’s Disease

Numerous occurrences of resident elopement include Alzheimer’s disease patients, a condition marked by the loss of fundamental mental processes, notably memory. Many Alzheimer’s patients become confused in unfamiliar nursing home situations, and this disorientation may cause them to wander. Other types of dementia might also result in disorientation and wandering owing to memory loss and confusion. 

To avoid elopement, dementia patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities to require extra supervision.

Drug Adverse Effects

Several drugs, including sedatives and antidepressants, can induce disorientation. Patients on these medications who do not receive mental treatment and monitoring may wander. In addition to bewilderment, symptoms such as pain and weakness might induce patients to roam in search of assistance. Overmedication is another frequent cause of elopement. 

Unfortunately, some assisted living facilities overmedicate patients to keep them “under control,” resulting in significant adverse effects such as wandering.

Unaddressed Needs

Residents of nursing homes who do not receive appropriate food, water, or exercise may roam in search of something or someone to meet their needs. Due to poor psychosocial health, a lack of attention from caregivers and social contact with other residents might also result in elopement. Even if a neglected elder resident intends to return to the facility, they may be unable to do so.

Unfamiliar Surrounding

As they are unfamiliar with their surroundings, new nursing home residents may pose a danger of wandering or elopement. This condition frequently happens among seniors with a greater susceptibility to mental disorientation.

What Are the Reasons Elopement Happens in Nursing Homes?

In nursing homes and assisted living institutions, elopement can occur for the following reasons: 

  • Staff Shortages. The primary factor in wandering in nursing care settings is chronic understaffing. It is the source of several issues that might lead to wandering or elopement, including:
    • Inadequate Supervision. All residents, particularly those with a higher risk of escaping, require adequate monitoring. A lack of enough personnel may result in residents walking off or injuring themselves since no one is present to prevent them.
  • Neglect. When a nursing home fails to provide a patient’s fundamental requirements, that patient may roam in search of them elsewhere. Understaffing poses a substantial danger of neglect since there is insufficient personnel to offer proper care for everyone.
  • Abuse. A high resident-to-employee ratio can result in staff burnout, raising the likelihood of nursing home abuse (including sexual, physical, and emotional). A mistreated patient may attempt to leave the facility to escape the mistreatment.
  • Poor Neglect and Abuse Prevention in Nursing Home Facilities. Abuse and neglect at a nursing home can result in conditions that may induce a person to wander or “escape” the facility. Typically, these issues result from a lack of anti-abuse and neglect measures, such as:
    • Conducting background checks to determine whether or not applicants have a history of violence or abuse
    • Training all personnel appropriately to prevent negligence and abusive conduct
    • Implementing processes to check for symptoms of neglect or mistreatment
    • Developing comprehensive resident care rules and procedures, as well as sanctions for noncompliance
    • Reducing resident-on-resident violence or abuse, particularly isolating violent persons from other residents
    • Assuring that all departments have sufficient personnel to avoid abuse and neglect
  • Medication Errors and Inadequate Monitoring. The personnel of a nursing home must guarantee that patients using medications that induce disorientation are constantly monitored. Otherwise, these people may wander because they do not know where they are or are searching for something to alleviate their pain. Medication-related resident elopement may occur for the following reasons:
    • Overmedication – Overmedicated patients may endure prolonged and intensified adverse effects, such as disorientation and discomfort. These consequences frequently increase the risk of elopement, especially among elderly persons.
    • Medication Mistakes – In addition to overmedication, some nursing homes make medication mistakes. These medication mistakes, such as delivering the wrong medicine, administering a drug inappropriately, or distributing the wrong dose, can contribute to elopement.
    • Insufficient Monitoring – Patients on medication must be adequately monitored to prevent them from falling, wandering, or leaving the facility.
  • Insufficient Security. The lack of security measures increases the danger posed to roaming patients. Relevant factors include:
    • Absence of Exit Procedure – Every nursing home and assisted living institution must have an exit procedure to prevent residents from leaving the facility unsupervised.
    • Insufficient Staff for Security – A shortage of security personnel can result in crewless stations at exits and entrances and unmonitored video cameras, increasing the likelihood that a resident would leave the premises unnoticed. When a resident goes missing, inadequate security guards might delay the emergency response.
    • Inadequate Locking and Alarm Systems – Some high-risk residents require closed windows and doors to prevent wandering and self-injury. In certain portions of a nursing home, windows and doors may also be required to be locked at all times. Inadequate locking and alarm systems can pose significant dangers to the personal safety of occupants and the general security of the building.
    • Inadequate Security Cameras – Cameras prevent confused residents from wandering through or leaving the facility alone. At the absolute least, surveillance footage can assist a nursing home in determining in which direction a patient who has gone missing left the institution.
  • Absence of Elopement-Specific Preventative Measures. A nursing home must implement the following measures and protocols to prevent wandering and elopement among residents at risk:
    • Residents having a history of wandering or elopement are monitored closely
    • The elderly with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and other mental impairments
    • Residents who take drugs that might induce mental confusion or disorientation
    • Disgruntled residents who, with or without a mental disorder, may be in danger of “escaping”

What Are the Warning Signs of Elderly Elopement?

If you suspect that a loved one may have eloped, search for the following indicators:

  • Unexplained injuries,
  • certain unusual conduct (e.g., agitation, restlessness),
  • a desire to leave the facility,
  • trying to unlock doors,
  • a history of wandering,
  • And previous elopement attempts.

Wandering and elopement are prevalent among nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s or other kinds of dementia. Conditions such as inclement weather and outdoor exposure make wandering and elopement highly hazardous to nursing home patients who become disoriented after leaving the institution.

We at Ricket Law Firm LLC find it unacceptable for Missouri nursing facilities to permit wandering and elopement. We will utilize our talents and resources to ensure their accountability and assist you in obtaining reasonable compensation.

What Are the Potential Implications of Elopement in Nursing Homes?

Residents’ safety and security are gravely threatened by elopement in nursing homes. A patient who leaves a nursing home or assisted living facility may be injured in several ways, including:

  • falling, slipping, or tripping
  • getting lost and using excessive effort to locate their way back
  • being hit by a vehicle
  • enduring adverse health complications due to medication neglect
  • becoming a victim of a crime (e.g., theft, physical assault, sexual abuse, kidnapping)
  • succumbing to the elements

Regardless of the circumstances in which they find themselves, wandering residents virtually always run the risk of:

  • Severe Injuries. If a resident is involved in an accident or violent encounter while walking unattended, they might receive severe injuries, such as fractures, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and lacerations. Any significant damage might be dangerous for a weak elderly person.
  • Malnutrition and Dehydration. In instances of elopement in which nursing home personnel fail to locate a patient for a long time, the patient may suffer from malnutrition and dehydration due to insufficient food and drink.
  • Mental or Emotional Trauma. If they elope, a resident’s mental and emotional health might be negatively impacted by traumatic experiences, such as assault or another violent crime.
  • Effects of Missed Medication. After missing one or more doses of a maintenance drug, a resident’s health may deteriorate severely. For instance, a diabetic patient who misses a regular insulin dose may develop hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels).

How Can Elopement Constitute Abuse or Neglect?

We entrust our loved ones to nursing facilities because they should have many skilled staff members who can keep an eye out, especially if the patient has Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative disorders. At home, it is hard for one or two individuals to monitor someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A nursing home should have sufficient personnel to detect a wandering patient.

However, nursing facilities do not always comply with proper care requirements. A patient may elope if the facility does not have enough employees (or adequately educated staff) to prevent such events. Alternatively, they may lack the policies necessary to avoid this situation. It is believed that at least 60 percent of people living with Alzheimer’s will eventually elope. 

There is no justification for a care home to overlook this opportunity. Even more disturbing is that many wandering patients are discovered deceased. Vehicle collisions, exposure to cold, and drowning are the leading causes of mortality. There are also numerous nonfatal consequences, including falls, fractures, sprains, and other avoidable injuries.

Can I Hold the Nursing Home Accountable If My Loved One Elopes?

Nursing home facilities are accountable for the safety and well-being of their residents. This commitment includes avoiding elopement and its underlying factors, including nursing home neglect and abuse. Suppose a member of your family suffers an injury while walking the facility or escapes the premises. In such a circumstance, you might sue or file a claim for personal injury against the nursing facility. 

You must first demonstrate that the following are true:

  • The defendant (in this example, the nursing home) owed your loved one a legal duty
  • The defendant violated this duty of care
  • The breach led to the wandering or elopement of your loved one
  • The wandering or elopement immediately caused injuries and other damage to your loved one

Liable Parties

In situations involving nursing home elopement resulting from facilities or organizational deficiencies, the defendant will generally be the nursing home owner. In contrast, cases involving nursing home abuse or neglect may identify the following parties as liable:

    • employees in a nursing facility
    • visitors
    • other patients

Regardless of who is directly at fault, the nursing home may also be liable for mistreatment.

Proof Needed

The following types of proof can assist you in establishing the nursing home’s negligence:

    • Footage of the resident walking or leaving the institution captured by surveillance cameras
    • Documentation indicating a history of elopement or wandering
    • Documentation demonstrating the facility’s failure to satisfy the personal safety needs of your loved one (e.g., faulty door locks)
    • If applicable, medical documents revealing excessive medication use
    • If appropriate, documentation of elder abuse or neglect
    • Photographs of injuries
    • Evidence that your family member is in danger of wandering, such as a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
    • In the event of a crime or accident, police reports filed
    • Witness statements from nursing home personnel, visitors, patients, or anyone who has seen your loved one outside the facility

Recoverable Damages

If a nursing home fails to protect your loved one from danger, it may be responsible for the following damages:

    • medical expenses
    • impairment
    • pain and suffering
    • reduced quality of life
    • wrongful death

How Can Our Competent Elder Elopement Attorney Help?

Establishing a facility’s negligence in a nursing home elopement lawsuit might be challenging. You require our competent elder elopement attorney in Kansas City, MO, who can assist you:

  • Determine why and how the incident occurred
  • Establish the magnitude of your family’s losses
  • Collect evidence to support your claim
  • File a claim with the facility’s insurance provider
  • Negotiate settlement values
  • File your claim in civil court, if applicable

Discuss Your Case With A Kansas City Elder Elopement Attorney Today!

We believe nursing home facilities and their employees protect our loved ones. Sometimes, due to age, dementia, or other medical issues, our loved ones require additional monitoring to prevent them from “eloping” away from the institution or its employees. These residents are the most susceptible to threats in the outer world. Unfortunately, residents at nursing homes do not always receive the necessary monitoring. 

You need to be aware of your rights. Ricket Law Firm LLC is competent, compassionate, and committed to protecting our client’s rights. We can offer guidance and assistance at this challenging time.

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