Wandering in nursing homes: Freedom or neglect?

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

One of the rights of nursing home residents is to have freedom from physical restraints, including isolation and restrictions. Residents must be free to move around the premises without feeling restricted. However, this liberty sometimes leads to accidents and injuries.

With these in mind, many wonder when wandering in nursing homes count as a resident’s freedom or a form of neglect by the nursing home staff.

When wandering, injuries and negligence connect

Generally, residents are free to move around nursing homes since it can help them nurture their physical and mental well-being instead of being stuck in the same room or area the entire time. This is typically not a cause for concern.

However, if from wandering around the premises, a resident gets in an accident and acquire an injury due to the negligence of the nursing home administration or its personnel, then it can be a form of neglect.

But how does one know if there is negligence?

Detecting signs of negligence

When navigating the thin line between a resident’s freedom to move around and the nursing home’s neglect, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of negligence, which includes:

  • Failure to assess residents for risks of harmful wandering
  • Inadequate staffing and training to supervise residents who may wander
  • Lack of security measures, such as alarms or electronic monitoring for wandering residents
  • Failure to provide clear signage and secure paths
  • Failure to provide structured activities that can help reduce boredom, which can trigger wandering

If a nursing home and its staff fails to implement measures when they are clearly necessary and it leads to a resident’s harm, it could be a case of neglect.

Families who are concerned about the safety of their loved ones in nursing homes should discuss these measures with their nursing homes to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions. If, despite the discussion, the nursing home still fails to properly care for their residents, it is advisable to seek knowledgeable legal guidance and take the issue to the appropriate authorities.