Nursing home facilities have an obligation to properly monitor their residents and keep them safe. Although nursing homes are not prisons, nursing home staffs can be held responsible when they allow mentally frail patients to wander off premises without proper supervision.
Skilled nursing facility residents suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s and a variety of other cognitive disabilities and can be severely injured when they leave care facilities without proper supervision. Such resident can be severely injured by environmental exposure, falls or auto versus pedestrian accidents.
One California nursing home was recently sued after allowing a wheel-chair bound resident to leave the premises without adequate supervision. The skilled nursing facility allegedly violated doctor’s orders by letting the resident wander off. The lawsuit alleged nursing home negligence, wrongful death and a variety of other causes of action.
According to the lawsuit, the nursing facility did not report the resident’s absence promptly after he failed to return at the scheduled time. The family of the resident alleges that the nursing facility waited a full day to report their loved one’s absence and his absence was only reported when he was found the next day severely injured on the street.
The elderly man was found with severe brain trauma and was rushed to the Long Beach Memorial Center’s intensive care unit. The hospital transferred the patient the following day to a different unit and allowed him to sign his own discharge papers despite his mental illness and brain injury. The patient collapsed shortly after leaving the hospital and was declared brain dead a few days later.
Source: Chaidez v. Paramount Meadows Nursing Center, L.P., et Al., 2012 WL 5360556, Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC444760