Man Killed After Wandering from an Assisted Living Group Home

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Feb 23, 2018 in Nursing Home Abuse

abandoned chair in dark hallwayA 65-year-old man was fatally struck by a motor vehicle after wandering from a Milwaukee assisted living group home.

The victim was struck outside of Agape Supportive Living Services shortly before 6 a.m. on Feb. 15 at N. 68th St. and W. Capitol Drive. The victim had lived at the assisted living group home since February 2015, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Agape Supportive Living Services specializes in providing care for the elderly, developmentally disabled, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, and patients with irreversible dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

A medical examiner’s report stated that the victim suffered from several cognitive illnesses, including a condition known as encephalopathy which results in loss of memory and cognitive ability. The report also stated the victim’s conditions made it so he was unable to care for himself.

An employee with Agape Supportive Learning Services reported that the victim had never left the facility before and that staff members did not believe he was a flight risk.

However, a relative of the victim told the medical examiner that alarms had been placed on several of the facility’s doors because the victim had previously been reported a flight risk.

Nursing Homes Must Prevent Wandering

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a duty to ensure they know where their residents are and that their residents are safe from danger and self-harm. This includes preventing residents who suffer from cognitive impairment disorders from eloping or wandering from the facility.

Elopement is a common factor in many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. This occurs when a patient who suffers from a cognitive disorder, such as dementia, wanders from a nursing home without informing staff members.

Often, wandering residents quickly become confused by their surroundings and are unable to recognize where they are or find their way back to the nursing home or assisted living facility. This places a wandering resident in extreme danger of being injured or killed by dangerous elements he or she is unable to recognize.

Some of the most common risks and injuries that occur when a resident elopes include:

  • Broken bones
  • Slipping
  • Falling on stairs, wet pavement or from elevated areas
  • Walking into traffic
  • Cuts or bruises
  • Accident death

Additionally, residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are at risk of being injured in colder months where exposure to extremely low temperatures could result in adverse health complications.

For this reason, it is imperative that nursing homes and assisted living facilities prevent residents from leaving the building and that they act quickly to secure a resident who has eloped or wandered from a facility.

The nursing home or assisted living facility can be held liable for any injuries that occur if a resident leaves the facility because the home failed to prevent wandering and elopement.

How to Recognize Signs of Elopement

Although it may be difficult to identify which nursing home residents are at risk of eloping, there are certain signs that may indicate a resident is likely to elope. This includes residents who:

  • Have attempted to elope before
  • Have a history of wandering
  • Express an interest in leaving the facility
  • Are unable to recognize their surroundings
  • Are easily confused
  • Are often restless and agitated

When a resident elopes, it can result in severe consequences. This includes being exposed to dangerous elements, such as extreme weather or busy roads where the resident is at risk of being injured or killed.

How Elopement Can Be Prevented

Nursing homes should take proper steps to ensure residents are safe and install safety procedures to prevent at-risk residents from wandering or eloping. Some of these procedures may include: 

  • Placing alarms on residents’ beds
  • Making sure all windows and doors are locked
  • Checking on residents who are at risk of wandering
  • Employing enough staff members to tend to each resident
  • Guiding at-risk residents through their daily activities
  • Carefully watching a patient for changes in attitude or behavior
  • Preventing residents from using certain doors or exits that lead outside of the facility
  • Installing cameras and monitoring systems that provide live video feed of the facility’s exits
  • Examining at-risk residents’ patterns throughout the day

If a resident suffers from memory loss or cognitive impairment, it is imperative they are continuously monitored to ensure their safety.

Contact Our Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If your loved one wandered or eloped from a nursing home or assisted living facility, do not hesitate to contact PKSD to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Our Milwaukee personal injury attorneys will review the circumstances behind your claim to determine if you have a case against a negligent long-term care facility. We are dedicated to helping victims of nursing home abuse and neglect recover the justice and compensation they deserve.

If we determine that you have a case against the at-fault nursing home, we will provide all of our services on a contingency fee basis. This means you will only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.

Call 877-877-2228 to get started.

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