Nursing Home Elopement Lawyer: Causes, Risks, & Prevention Strategies

Sean T. Keith
Sean T. Keith

Personal Injury Lawyer for 35+ years. Nationally recognized Top 100 Trial Lawyer. Top Car Accident Lawyer & Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Arkansas.

The #1 Nursing Home Abuse and Elopement Lawyers in Arkansas

Nursing home elopement, also known as wandering, is a serious concern for families with elderly loved ones residing in long-term care facilities.

Nursing home residents are expected to be kept safe and under vigilant care.

Too often, nursing home residents wander and escape from facilities and tragic situations occur as a result.

Nursing home elopement cases are the fault of nursing home staff members and management, whose sole purpose is keeping residents safe and healthy.

Vulnerable nursing home residents often require around-the-clock care and may suffer from health problems that put them at risk for serious injuries if left alone and given the ability to wander.

Nursing Home Elopement Lawyer: Causes, Risks, & Prevention Strategies; Nursing Home Elopement Lawyer; Nursing Home Wandering Attorneys

Looking for an experienced Nursing Home Elopement Lawyer?

The attorneys at Keith Law Group are seasoned veterans when it comes to nursing home elopement cases and nursing home abuse cases.

We understand the tremendous breach of trust, respect and safety that has occurred and we are prepared to target all parties liable with aggressive legal action.

Contact us for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page for an instant and free case evaluation.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help.

We’ve helped many nursing home residents and their family members secure financial compensation for abuse, neglect and elopement, and we are ready to represent you.

Table of Contents

What is Nursing Home Elopement?

Nursing home elopement (a type of nursing home neglect) refers to the act of an elderly resident leaving a nursing home or assisted living facility without supervision or authorization.

Elopement and wondering are serious issues as it puts the resident’s health and safety at risk, especially if they have cognitive or physical impairments.

Causes of Nursing Home Elopement

Several factors can contribute to nursing home elopement, but all lead back to the nursing home staff members failure to protect residents.

The most common causes of elopement in nursing homes include:

Causes of Nursing Home Elopement

  • Cognitive Impairment: Patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, sleep disorders, and other cognitive impairments are at high risk of wandering and elopement. Residents with cognitive impairments may have had prior incidents that indicate a higher risk for elopement or wandering.
  • Inadequate Staffing: Nursing homes with inadequate staff or high turnover rates may struggle to keep a close eye on residents, increasing the risk of elopement. When nursing home staff fails to protect high risk residents, wandering incidents can occur. Proper staffing is crucial in protecting patients and giving them the best care possible.
  • Poor Security Measures: Nursing homes with inadequate security measures, such as malfunctioning exit doors or broken alarm systems, are more susceptible to elopement. Necessary security measures are crucial in providing adequate care and keeping residents safe.
  • Neglectful Environment: Nursing homes and assisted living facilities that purposely abuse and neglect elderly residents have a higher elopement risk.
  • Lack of Family Support: Residents with little or no family support may feel isolated and attempt to leave the facility to seek social interaction.

Nursing Home Wandering Risks and Injuries

Nursing home wandering or elopement can lead to significant injuries and death.

When an elderly person leaves a nursing home facility or assisted living facility, they are left without access to medication and proper care.

Serious injuries and even death can result from nursing homes elopement:

Nursing Home Elopement Risks and Injuries, Nursing Home Wandering Injuries

  • Physical injuries: Residents who elope from nursing homes can suffer physical injuries from falls, accidents, and other incidents that may occur during their escape attempts. These injuries can range from minor bruises and cuts to severe fractures, head injuries, and even death.
  • Emotional and psychological trauma: The act of elopement can be a traumatic experience for nursing home residents, causing fear, confusion, and distress. It can also lead to long-term emotional and psychological effects, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Elopement in nursing homes can also heighten the effects of alzheimer’s disease and dementia related issues, requiring further psychiatric care.
  • Exposure to the elements: Residents who elope from nursing homes may be exposed to extreme temperatures, rain, snow, and other harsh weather conditions, which can lead to hypothermia, dehydration, and other related injuries.
  • Wandering-related injuries: Residents who wander away from nursing homes may become lost or disoriented, leading to injuries such as sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Injuries from traffic accidents: Nursing home residents who elope may wander into traffic, leading to serious injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and other severe injuries.
  • Neglect and abuse: Nursing home residents who elope may be vulnerable to neglect and abuse, either during their escape attempts or while they are away from the facility.

Keith Law Group: Filing Nursing Home Elopement Cases on Behalf of Family Members

Keith Law Group is representing family members of elderly adults who have wandered from nursing homes and subsequently been injured or passed away.

Currently, we are filing suit alongside Tom Wagstaff against The Brookfield at Highland Crossing and Brookfield Assisted Living LLC in Bella Vista, AR.

Barbara Doyle had been admitted to the Brookfield facility for three days while her husband attended their granddaughters’ first communion in Ohio.

Within three hours of being admitted, Mrs. Doyle left the facility through an exit door.

She was found 13 days later about a quarter mile away from the facility, having succumbed due to environmental stress.

The lawsuit claims Brookfield was negligent by:

  • failing to implement measures to prevent Doyle from wandering off;
  • failing to provide adequate policies and procedures to address Doyle’s care needs;
  • failing to supervise their employees;
  • failing to comply with and follow the state regulations governing facilities such as Brookfield, and
  • not providing a safe environment for Doyle.

Recent Nursing Home Elopement Incidents

Elopement in nursing homes happens more often than you might think.

Resident wandering is almost as common as elder abuse in nursing homes.

Below are a few recent examples of nursing home resident elopement that have appeared in the news:

  • February 2023:  Reports show months of health and safety deficiencies led to issues for Pike County nursing home (Kentucky)
  • January 2023:  Bedford nursing home resident dies after apparently wandering outside (Ohio)
  • January 2023:  Summit Village cited by state after resident wanders away, suffers fatal injury (New York)
  • January 2023:  97-Year-Old Froze to Death Near Door of Assisted-Living Center in Colorado, Says Family Lawsuit
  • January 2023:  Iowa nursing home under investigation after instances of nursing home neglect and abuse, and one patient leaving and freezing to death
  • August 2022:  Suit Filed After Elderly Man Leaves Assisted Living Facility, Drowns In Pond (Illinois)
  • June 2022:  Two residents wander from Winthrop nursing home, one struck and killed by a car (Maine)
  • February 2022:  Rock Hill woman wanders for 10 hours overnight after escaping from nursing home (South Carolina)
  • February 2022:  Nursing Home Resident Found Dead In Parsippany After Wandering Off (New Jersey)
  • January 2022:  Woman dies after wandering from assisted living facility, spending hours in cold, attorney says (South Carolina)

Filing a Nursing Home Elopement Lawsuit

If your loved one was injured or died due to injuries resulting from nursing home wandering or elopement, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the nursing home staff, management or any other party responsible for your relative’s safety.

Keith Law Group is experienced in handling Nursing Home Abuse cases and we can help you and your family members secure the compensation you are rightfully owed.

In a Nursing Home Abuse or Nursing Home Elopement Lawsuit, there are some crucial steps you must take.

These steps can be completed with the help of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer:

  1. Gathering Evidence
  2. Assessing Damages

Contact us for a free consultation or use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit instantly.

We’re here to help.

Gathering Evidence for Nursing Home Abuse and Wandering Cases

Evidence is important in any personal injury case, but it is especially important in cases involving the injury or death of nursing home residents.

Types of evidence to gather for nursing home abuse cases may include:

  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Contracts with the assisted living facility or nursing home facility
  • Witness testimony
  • Expert testimony
  • Police reports
  • Photos and videos
  • Any other evidence regarding your loved one’s residence in nursing homes or assisted living facilities

It’s important to gather and safely retain all evidence relevant to your case.

If there is any evidence you are having trouble securing, your nursing home abuse lawyer will help you gather and retain it.

Assessing Damages for Nursing Home Wandering Cases

Elopement in nursing homes can result in serious injuries and even death for wandering patients.

With no access to medication and proper care, and dozens of unforeseen obstacles in escaping and wandering in an area nearby the nursing home, residents are susceptible to major injury and deadly situations.

The dangers can be exacerbated especially if a resident suffers from mental impairment or other cognitive impairments.

Damages in a lawsuit regarding elopement in nursing homes may include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral costs
  • Permanent disability
  • Lost quality of life
  • Lost income (from caring for an injured family member)
  • Loss of consortium
  • Other compensatory and punitive damages

Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer will help you understand and assess all damages relating to the elopement of your elderly family member.

They will then file a claim against the responsible parties: the nursing home, assisted living facility and/or their staff.

$2 Million Settlement Reached in Benton County Nursing Home Elopement Case

Keith Law Group and Brookfield Assisted Living in Bella Vista settled a lawsuit for $2 million after Barbara Doyle, a 74-year-old resident, went missing and was found dead 13 days later.

Her body was discovered in the woods near the Presbyterian Church of Bella Vista during a search operation.

The search involved multiple agencies and covered over 1,500 acres using various means like ATVs, vehicles, boats, bikes, horseback, and drones.

Here are three (3) resources if you would like to read further about this settlement:

Keith Law Group: Your Nursing Home Elopement Lawyer

Nursing home facilities are expected to keep elderly residents safe and healthy, providing them with top-notch care regardless of any mental impairment or other medical conditions.

We trust these nursing home facilities and assisted living facilities with the lives of our family members, and when tragedy strikes, we are left wondering whether we could have prevented what happened.

Nursing Home Elopement Lawyer

When a nursing home fails to protect its vulnerable patients, legal action is one of the best routes to hold them accountable and make sure they prevent future incidents of elopement and abuse.

Do not let your family navigate this difficult situation alone.

Contact Keith Law Group for a free consultation and discuss your legal options today. We are here to help you.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a lawsuit instantly.

Related Articles

Choose Us For Your Personal Injury Case


We Will Fight For You!

Let Us Get The Compensation You Deserve