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The Problem of Elopement From Memory Care Facilities


If your parent has Alzheimer's or dementia, a memory care unit may become an integral part of your loved one's treatment plan. Memory care units provide the around-the-clock supervision and advanced medical care that individuals with these conditions require--the type of care that family members usually cannot offer.

When you place your loved one in the care of a facility, you and the provider agree to a standard level of care and safety. In cases of elopement, the facility violates that standard of care. As such, you may have legal recourse if your loved one suffers injury or harm while outside the facility.

What is elopement?

Elopement is when an individual living in a long-term care facility leaves the facility without the knowledge or consent or the staff or family. You could also call it escape. Although your first assumption may be that they fled because of unhappiness, research suggests it is far more likely that they did so to respond to a perceived or real need.

They may be looking for:

  • Human contact
  • Food
  • Water
  • A different environment
  • Relief from pain

Elopement is worrisome in and of itself. It can indicate a lack of supervision and a lack of security. If an adult with a cognitive impairment escapes, they could easily get hurt due to a lack of awareness of their surroundings or a lack of ability to perceive danger. On a secondary level, elopement could be a warning sign of neglect or abuse—of basic needs left unmet.

If your parent or loved one has eloped from a nursing home facility and suffered as a result, call the Houston law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner for a consultation at 713-396-3964 or toll-free at 1-800-594-4884.

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