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Wandering and Elopement Resources | NCCDP Endorses Project Lifesaver

Wandering and Elopement Resources: Practitioner Definition

NCCDP Endorses Project Lifesaver


Elopement Resource Manual from Healthcare Association of New York

Wandering and Elopement: Litigation Issues from  http://www.nccdp.org/wandering.htm
Marie Boltz, MSN, APRN-BC, NHA Director of Practice Initiatives
The John A Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing
NYU College of Nursing

One of the most challenging, life-threatening issues related to care of the person with cognitive loss is the occurrence of wandering, wherein the person strays into unsafe territories and may be harmed. The most dangerous form of wandering is elopement in which the confused person leaves an area and does not return. The risk of wandering has become a growing concern of families, long-term care facilities, regulators, and insurers

.1 In addition to civil liability, care providers can be fined by the state regulatory agency for failure to prevent elopement.

2 The effects upon the population served and the staff are no less dramatic.  The sense of security of those served and their families is severely shaken, and staff morale as well as the organization’s reputation is dealt a devastating blow. 

3 The aim of this chapter is to define wandering, elopement, and related issues, and to summarize the scope of the problems in terms of prevalence and effect. The types and causes of wandering and generally accepted approaches to care will be discussed. The regulatory and risk management considerations will also be presented. A hypothetical case will be presented. Finally, the role of an expert witness will be discussed.