Patient wandering and patient elopement are serious safety concerns at hospitals in New York and around the country. A patient who wanders outside of the hospital grounds before the end of their treatment could be injured. Patients may also be at risk for injury if they leave a medical facility without informing their health care providers or they discharge themselves against medical advice.

One of the things that health care facilities can do to reduce the risk of patient wandering is to assess patients, Those patients who are suffering from certain types of conditions may be more likely to wander off hospital grounds. Doctors and nurses should consider whether a patient has a mental disorder or poor decision-making skills. A patient who is considered dangerous or who was legally committed could be at an increased risk of wandering.

To prevent patient wandering incidents, hospitals may be designed with a number of different security systems. Hospitals may have locked units, motion sensor alarms, security cameras and guards. Some hospitals may require certain patients to be accompanied by a staff member when they leave their rooms. While security measures may prevent most patients from wandering off of their unit, hospitals should also have response procedures in place in case a patient wanders.

If security measures at a health care facility are insufficient, patients with mental disorders such as Alzheimer's disease could wander away and suffer fatal injuries. When this happens, the decedent's family may want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit based upon hospital negligence medical malpractice. An attorney can provide assistance to the family members in seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.


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