Nursing Home Law FAQ: What is abandonment or elopement in a nursing home?

Elders move into nursing homes or assisted care facilities usually when their health is declining or they are unable to take care of themselves. A nursing home facility should offer constant, competent care that ensures their safety and wellbeing. When these facilities fail to provide the care that has been promised, and paid for, preventable tragedies could be the result.

As a nursing home abuse lawyer, we know of many cases that have involved psychological, cognitive, financial, and physical vulnerabilities that endanger an elderly resident – particular when they are left unattended. This may be grounds for neglect, and sufficient enough to file a nursing home neglect claim. If you suspect this has happened to you or an elder, call a nursing home lawyer now. 

Leaving any resident of a nursing home alone to care for himself when they cannot do so is unacceptable. In general, when this happens, it is the result of carelessness or negligence on the part of the facility and staff. As leading nursing home abuse lawyers, we find these actions to be inexcusable. For years, we have been fighting for the rights of victims and their families. We have successfully recovered millions in damages for those who were harmed because of negligence in a nursing home facility. 

Abandonment in a Nursing Home

The National Center on Elder Abuse defines abandonment as the “desertion” of a senior by a staff or individual who had the responsibility to care for them, or who had the legal physical custody of them.  When staff of a nursing home fail to adhere to this responsibility and they leave a vulnerable elder in a place to fend for themselves, it may be neglected. 

Abandonment does not need to occur in a public place, such as an elderly outing, rather it can happen in the facility itself. For instance, elders who have limited mobility or cognitive impairments may leave them at risk for falling, dehydration, or malnourishment. They could feel isolated and confined; thereby, resulting in a state of severe depression. 

The Risks of Elopement 

Another significant danger of neglect in a nursing home, and for elders who are mobile, is the risk of elopement. When an elder is left unsupervised, and may also have cognitive issues like Alzheimers, memory loss, or dementia, they may wander off. If no one is watching them, they could leave the facility and be extremely vulnerable in an environment that they are unfamiliar with. Wandering is also known as elopement, and is considerably common in nursing homes residents who have dementia. As a nursing home lawyer, we know of residents with dementia who left the facility unintentionally because they thought they needed to get something in another place. Dementia is a very serious condition that requires 24/7 monitoring and care. Security systems, trained personnel, and strict protocols can also minimize the risk of elopement. If a nursing home failed to monitor the elder, and he or she wandered off and was injured, harmed, or died, the facility may be liable for negligence. In this case, negligence may be the basis to recover monetary compensation. 


If you or a loved one was abandoned at a nursing home, or otherwise wandered off, and was harmed, please call a nursing home lawyer, like a nursing abuse lawyer Philadelphia, PA from Wieand Law Firm now.

Close Menu