My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and suffers from dementia. Last month, she wandered out of her Cedar Rapids nursing home. It was a cold day and it was several hours before she was found. She was ill but has recovered. The nursing home says there were no serious injuries. However, I feel that her mental state has further deteriorated. Can I file a claim against the nursing home?

About half of Iowa nursing home residents suffer from dementia. Residents with dementia will often wander or “elope” if they are left unsupervised. Once outside the facility, the resident can quickly become confused or disoriented. She may wander into traffic, fall in a ditch, or suffer from exposure to severe weather. Even if nothing happens, the experience of unfamiliar surroundings can be terrifying.

Iowa nursing home managers understand these risks. They have a duty to protect all their nursing home residents from harm, and this includes patients with dementia. Nursing homes must have a strategy to prevent elopement. A nursing home that fails to protect its residents can be held liable for any injuries that result.

Don’t take the nursing home’s word that there were no serious injuries. Get a second opinion from a doctor that you know and trust. There are many types of injuries that may occur during elopement:

  • Physical injuries
  • Illness
  • Hidden physical injuries
  • Psychological injuries
  • Worsening of existing medical conditions

Every case is unique. We suggest that you discuss your mother’s case with a personal injury attorney. She may be eligible for compensation for her medical expenses, pain and suffering and emotional trauma. To learn more, contact Hupy and Abraham at 888-807-2752.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.