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In recent years, the rising concern over assisted living deaths involving dementia patients wandering away from facilities has brought attention to the legal responsibilities and obligations of such establishments. The complexities surrounding these cases highlight the need for comprehensive legal guidance for both families affected and the assisted living facilities involved.

The Washington Post’s investigative report, published in 2023, sheds light on the alarming number of deaths related to dementia patients wandering away from assisted living facilities throughout the United States. According to the article, “Since 2018, more than 2,000 people have wandered away from assisted-living and memory-care facilities unnoticed or been left unattended for hours outside. Nearly 100 have died, and state inspectors frequently found evidence of neglect.” Their report provides a comprehensive overview, analyzing data from multiple incidents and their aftermaths.

Assisted living facilities are entrusted with the care and safety of vulnerable individuals, especially those suffering from dementia. The legal landscape surrounding deaths resulting from patients wandering away raises critical questions about the duty of care, facility negligence, and potential legal liabilities.

Duty of Care:

One key aspect that comes under scrutiny is the duty of care owed by assisted living facilities to their residents. Negligence in maintaining a safe and secure environment may expose these facilities to legal repercussions. Attorneys must thoroughly examine whether the facility met its duty to provide adequate supervision and take necessary precautions to prevent wandering incidents.

Facility Negligence:

The Washington Post’s investigation highlights instances where facilities failed to implement proper safety measures or adequately train staff to handle residents with dementia. Legal professionals must assess whether the facility’s negligence played a role in the occurrence of wandering incidents and subsequent deaths.

Informed Consent:

Families entrust their loved ones to assisted living facilities with the expectation that their needs, especially those related to medical conditions like dementia, will be adequately addressed. Lawyers should investigate whether families were adequately informed about the risks associated with dementia patients wandering and whether the facility took appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.

The alarming incidents of assisted living deaths involving dementia patients wandering away from facilities underscore the need for vigilant legal advocacy. At Clark, Perdue & List, it is our responsibility to navigate the complexities of these assisted living cases, offering support and seeking justice for the affected families.

For families grappling with the loss of a loved one due to assisted living negligence, seeking justice is a crucial step in the healing process. Our team can play a pivotal role in holding negligent facilities accountable and obtaining compensation for the pain, suffering, and wrongful death of their clients.  Contact our experienced team for more information.