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Elopement And Wandering Deaths In North Carolina Nursing Homes | NC Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

In September, 62-year-old Annie Langely wandered away from her nursing home for the fourth time – authorities found her dead in a ravine close to the care facility days later. Her daughter sued the nursing home for negligence.

In Raleigh this month, an elderly woman with dementia and other cognitive issues wandered away from her group home. She was safely found, but only after a statewide missing persons alert.


Unfortunately, elopement and wandering injuries and deaths are all too common in nursing homes and adult care facilities in North Carolina. In fact, ten percent of all nursing home neglect lawsuits involve elopement.

Many nursing home residents suffer from health issues and cognitive issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s that make wandering an issue, and understaffed or negligent nursing homes can lose track of a patient at any time during the day or night. While wandering, these elderly nursing home residents can suffer from exposure, dehydration, falls, traffic accidents, and other serious scenarios. Residents who wander from their care facilities can also suffer from emotional trauma as they leave their comfort zones and become lost. In addition some may not be able to take prescription medication that is vital to their wellbeing.

Nursing homes that incur elopement cases and wandering cases may suffer from insufficient staff, untrained staff, negligent staff, or a lack of proper door alarms or properly maintained door alarms.

While nursing homes are not legally allowed to lock residents in their rooms or in the building, they do have a responsibility to keep their patients from wandering into danger. This can usually be handled with an attentive staff, frequently maintained door alarms, and proper staff training. While not all elopement or wandering cases can be prevented, a nursing home can take the appropriate and reasonable measures to keep their nursing home residents safe and secure.