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Oregon Wandering and Elopement Lawyers - Bend/Portland, OR

Part of a nursing home’s job is to watch and monitor residents, particularly residents with cognitive dysfunction.  Indeed, one of the reasons why some families may resort to placing a loved one in a nursing home is due to a loved one wandering.  This is particularly common in elderly individuals who have dementia or Alzheimer’s.  Wandering or elopement could result in residents sustaining serious injuries or wrongful death, particularly if they do not know where they are due to a disease or cognitive condition.  If a loved one at a nursing home has been seriously injured or wrongfully killed due to wandering or elopement, it is time to get a free evaluation from our Oregon wandering and elopement lawyers.

This is because Oregon law provides victims and their families with certain rights and remedies in wandering and elopement cases.  While it is true that a nursing home or rehabilitation center cannot be the insurer from all harm, staff must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances in treating, supervising, and monitoring residents.  This means that residents need to be properly monitored if they have a propensity to wander or elope.  

Nursing homes have a duty to ensure reasonable safety of their residents, which may include having 1-on-1 monitoring, use of bed alarms, and other tracking or monitoring devices to ensure that residents are properly supervised and watched over.  After all, many families have to make the unfortunate decision to put a loved one in a nursing home because families cannot monitor a loved one 24/7—but a nursing home can!  This is why Oregon law may impose liability when residents are allowed to freely wander or elope.

Understanding Wandering and Elopement in Nursing Homes

Wandering and elopement are serious issues that nursing homes must contend with to ensure that residents are safe and accounted for.  Wandering and elopement refer to residents who have a propensity to aimlessly walk around with little or no objective.  Residents many wander into hallways, staff areas, other resident areas, or even elope outside of the facility.  Generally there is a cognitive disfunction which means that wandering or eloping residents do not realize where they are, how to get back, or appreciate the dangers of certain situations.

Why is Wandering and Eloping Dangerous?

Wandering and eloping is dangerous because most residents do not understand or appreciate the dangers they may face.  This could result in serious personal injury or wrongful death of a resident.  There are many reasons why wandering and elopement are dangerous, which include some of the following:

  • Fall risk residents wandering are increasing their risk of falling by walking around aimlessly;
  • Residents recovering from leg or hip surgery may be at greater risk for complications or falling, as well as delaying their healing;
  • Wandering into other resident’s room may provoke defensive acts by the resident, or result in aggressive rebuke from others that do not want the wandering person in their personal space;
  • Eloping from a nursing home or facility could leave a resident vulnerable at night if he or she cannot be found or make it back to the facility;
  • Eloping can also result in residents walking into the street and being hit by a vehicle;
  • Residents wandering or eloping could bring attention to themselves as the perfect victims for criminals;
  • Wandering or eloping could bring residents to restricted areas of a facility which may be dangerous to be in, especially when residents are cognitively impaired; and
  • Many other dangerous reasons.

Reasons Why Wandering and Elopement Occur in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes have a duty to ensure the general safety of their residents.  However, except in proper cases and with a physician’s orders, healthcare facilities cannot completely restrict a resident’s movement because that would be unlawfully detaining or restricting a resident’s liberty.  This is why nursing homes and facilities must be particularly careful in how they handle wandering and elopement in nursing homes.  Using monitoring devices and other techniques can be useful in ensuring residents do not wander or elope.

While many nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities competently protect residents who wander and elope, far too many facilities fail to properly protect residents from wandering and elopement.  This could result in serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of a resident.  The most common reasons why wandering and elopement occur in nursing homes, including due to the negligence of an Oregon nursing home, including the following reasons:

  • Inadequate staffing and understaffed facilities;
  • Improperly trained staffs;
  • Negligent hiring of staff that are unable to or incapable of monitoring residents;
  • Failing to use monitoring equipment;
  • Neglecting to identify, assess, and set a plan for residents who may wander and elope;
  • Having inadequate safeguards at the facility for residents who wander and may elope;
  • Delayed or untimely bed checks or room checks;
  • Failing to use sensors on doors, windows, or beds to monitor residents who may wander or elope;
  • Failing to have a physician evaluate and determine whether a one-on-one sitter is needed for certain residents who might wander or elope; and
  • Many other reckless or careless reasons.

Bend/Portland, Oregon Wandering and Elopement in Nursing Homes Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect contact the Oregon Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.  

We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.  

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Nursing Home Abuse cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.  

Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law. 

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For more information on Medical Malpractice and Nursing Home Abuse, please also visit – StoppingMedicalMistakes.com

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