Elopement and Wandering in Oregon Nursing Homes can be Negligent and Medical Malpractice

Bend, Oregon Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Explains How Patient Wandering Can constitute Negligence or Medical malpractice.


Placing a loved one in a senior care facility is one of the most difficult choices anyone must make.  When you choose a facility, they should have the procedures, policies, and personnel to assure that elder wandering or elopement does not occur.  Elopement or wandering occurs when the patient leaves the facility’s premises and the nursing care facility loses track of the patient.  Elopement can be very dangerous because the patient may not know where he or she is and could cause harm to themselves.  One of the major concerns with nursing care patient wandering is exposure to the elements.  Because we have a wide variety of temperatures and weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest, seniors who wander off could be at risk for heat stroke, dehydration, pneumonia, hypothermia, freezing, frost bite, and malnutrition.


Other risks include being struck by a car or truck in traffic and falling or stumbling over uneven terrain or other obstacles causing broken bones, significant cuts, or other harm to the resident.

Why does elopement happen at elder care facilities?

Senior wandering or elopement frequently happens to elders whose mental faculties have been impaired by Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Other times it occurs to patients who have been given an improper dose of medication, who have missed their medication, or who are being given a new medication and are adjusting to the dosage or are having side effects.  Often times the resident becomes confused or disoriented and wanders off the nursing care facility or its grounds.


While there are many medical reasons that can contribute to patient wandering, there is one thing frequently found in care facilities where it occurs – either improper staffing or poor policies and procedures in place to prevent it.  When nursing care and elder care facilities are understaffed, the risk of senior wandering and elopement is much more prevalent.  When there are not enough nurses and care assistants, facilities do not have enough time and attention to devote to their patients and when medical emergencies occur, they facilities employees can become distracted or focused on the emergency which  may allow other residents to wander off.

Elder patient elopement is frequently negligence or medical malpractice

Seniors wandering off a nursing care premises is almost always negligence on the care facility’s part.  There should be proper policies in place for tracking the patients, visitors, and recognizing when they leave the facility.  With the low cost of security cameras, identification (ID) bracelets, and  other safety measures, nursing patients should not wonder off unaccounted for.


Central Oregon Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers, Standing up for Proper Senior Care

If your loved one was in an assisted care facility and wandered away from their room and suffered a serious injury or died as a result of the elopement, contact our Bend, Oregon nursing home abuse law firm today at (541) 385-1999 to learn more about your rights and how to hold the facility accountable so this type of mistake hopefully never happens again.  We offer a free case evaluation and if we accept your case, we will help you find the answers you are looking for and will take the case on a contingency fee which means you pay no fees unless we recover for you or your loved one.


We handle cases throughout Oregon including: Deschutes County, Bend, Redmond, Sisters, La Pine, Prineville, Tumalo, Madras, The Dalles, Pendleton, Hood River, Portland, Vancouver Washington, Silverton, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Oregon City, Clackamas, Newport, Medford, Eugene, Corvallis, Salem, Hillsboro, Coos Bay, Astoria, and West Linn.

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