Nursing Home Walkaways and Wanderers May Be Sign of Neglect

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For many individuals who choose to admit their loved ones to nursing homes and skilled care facilities in California do so because they are unable to provide them with the supervision and care that their loved ones need due to physical and mental conditions. A loved one who has dementia (for example) may require constant supervision lest the individual become disoriented and wander away from his or her home. Incidents of walkways from nursing homes do occur, however. More troubling, many of these incidents could have been avoided or have had a much more positive outcome if the nursing home involved provided better care.

Providing Your Loved One with Appropriate Care at a Nursing Home

According to an article published by, about one-third of nursing home residents will wander at least once during their stay at the home. Preventing your loved one from “walking away” from a nursing home facility or becoming disoriented and forgetting how to return to the nursing home from a walk or excursion begins by ensuring the nursing home facility is aware of your loved one’s condition. If he or she has been diagnosed with dementia, be certain that the admissions personnel are aware of this diagnosis and discuss with them what steps the nursing home is prepared to take in order to prevent your loved one from unintentionally leaving the nursing home facility.

While touring nursing home facilities to determine which facility might be the best fit for your loved one, you should pay attention to the ratio of nursing home staff members to residents. If the ratio is too great – i.e., there are too few nursing home staff members present during your visits compared to the number of residents of the facility – this may indicate that the home does not have the staff necessary to properly monitor and supervise its residents.

How to Tell if a Walkaway Incident is Due to Carelessness

Even a well-staffed nursing home or care facility may not be able to prevent all walkaways. However, the presence of one or more factual circumstances may indicate that the nursing home’s carelessness or neglect led to the walkaway:

  •      The length of time before the nursing home realized a resident had walked away;
  •      A prolonged period of time before the nursing home was able to notify appropriate authorities and the resident’s family of the walkaway and seek help in locating the resident;
  •      A lack of efforts and resources the nursing home was able to mobilize to assist in the search for the resident;
  •      Few barriers or obstacles to prevent residents from simply leaving the facility unattended (i.e., are exterior doors locked or monitored in some fashion?).

Call Case Barnett Law for Help

If your loved one was able to walk away from his or her nursing home and he or she suffered injuries as a result, your family may be entitled to compensation. Contact Case Barnett Law today at (949) 861-2990. Alternatively, you can connect with our firm using our online contact form on our website.

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