Attorney Robert Edens Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse Attorneys The Call is Free, The Advice Might Be Priceless
Wandering is one of the most intriguing, potentially, hazardous, and least understood behaviors amongst the elders in nursing homes. Additionally, it has been poorly defined and is very ambiguous despite that it is a very common occurrence of elderly patients whose care has been entrusted to a facility to keep them safe.
The reason it is so difficult to define “wandering” from a legal perspective is that it is a somewhat purposeful behavior, at least to the wanderer, yet it is often initiated by a cognitively impaired or disoriented individual. As a result, wanderers place themselves in hazardous situations that a cognitively intact persons would avoid. For the purposes of litigation, the wandering of a nursing home resident should be thought of as behavior that should be reduced or eliminated at all times.
At a minimum the standard of care at a nursing home must identify wanderers, develop prevention programs and activities, keep the facility safe, and have a swift, comprehensive, facility-wide method to mobilize staff to look for a missing resident. Expert testimony often is critical to successful litigation against nursing homes.Known Tendency to Wander
If the nursing home is aware of a patient’s predisposition to wander it is more likely to give rise to liability. Recovery has been allowed, for example, where a nursing home was aware of wandering and failed to take proper precautions, the facility may be found liable for any subsequent injury or death.
Golden Villa Nursing Home v. Smith, Texas.A motorcycle struck a nursing home resident who left the facility and wandered onto a highway. A verdict against the facility was handed down, finding that the resident’s long history of wandering put the home on notice of the resident’s known tendency to wander.
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