When an elderly patient is placed in a 24-hour facility, the assumption is that they will be looked after around the clock. After all, someone is paying for 24-hour-a-day care, whether the payment comes from a the elderly patient’s or a family member’s savings account, a personal health insurance policy, or Medicare. Residents living in nursing home facilities are supposed to be safe in their environment, especially if they exhibit a tendency to wander.
Potential Hazards Of Wandering It should be obvious that elderly patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other cognitive conditions need to be carefully watched to avoid personal injury. They often get confused and they may have a tendency to meander, both inside and outside of the facilities. When this happens, these patients stumble across numerous potential hazards if they are not being supervised properly. Stairwells can be potentially hazardous for these patients, who do not have the steady footing that they once had. Restricted areas, both inside and outside of the facility, could also pose a hazard to these residents. If the patient ambles outside, the potential hazards are endless, including traffic. Lost And Confused Beyond straying into potentially hazardous areas, the mental impairments that these residents suffer may cause them to forget where they were going and where they came from. They can become lost and confused if they have sauntered outside, and they may even encounter people who could cause them harm or treat them poorly. Staff at nursing facilities are supposed to be responsible for the well-being of these residents, and if a patient exhibits a tendency to trek through the building aimlessly, staff should pay special attention to that patient to ensure safety. Should Wandering Patients Be Restrained? It used to be believed that restraining these patients was the proper way to reduce their wandering tendencies and to keep patients safe. However, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has abandoned this technique, stating that the act is an unethical practice. Instead, the ANA proposed an increase of staff at facilities to ensure that all patients can be monitored appropriately. Get Tulsa Personal Injury Help It is sad when a loved one no longer functions at the same cognitive level they once did. Often, they are not just wandering physically, but also mentally and emotionally. The main goal at this point of their lives is to ensure that they maintain their dignity. If one of your loved ones has suffered injuries or died due to lack of supervision while they wandered off in a Tulsa nursing facility, contact the law offices of Frasier, Frasier & Hickman, LLP. We will provide you a free consultation to answer all of your legal questions. Call 918-779-3658 today.