It is shocking for an adult child to discover that his or her parent has somehow wandered off the grounds of a trusted facility. This type of unfortunate incident is on the rise, however. In fact, Caitlin Morgan Insurance reports that cases of elderly people going missing from nursing homes have increased by 40%. Thus, elopement risks in nursing homes must be taken into consideration in any overall risk management plan.
Reasons for Elopement
Why would an elderly person do something so dangerous? One explanation is that a person’s sense of direction declines significantly in the early stages of dementia, so he or she can accidentally become lost and confused. Other times, residents leave for any of the following reasons:
- Desire to go “home” to a place they lived when younger
- Anger at staff
- The decision to check themselves out risk management
- Attempt to run an errand
Protection Against Elopement
Nursing homes should have layers of preventative measures in place to prevent residents from becoming lost. These measures can include identification bracelets, security personnel, and locked doors. No matter how careful the staff is, however, the problem will not disappear. For this reason, it is imperative that nursing homes have specialized insurance to mitigate this type of risk.