Mar 242014

Is the Nursing Home Liable for Negligent Supervision?

Assisted Living Facility Resident in NJ Wanders, Found Dead Outside

Earlier this month, an 87 year old NJ man was found dead in the courtyard of an assisted living facility. The facility is located in Cherry Hill, NJ, several miles outside of Philadelphia.

According to a local Philadelphia news report, the elderly resident suffered from dementia. He was discovered missing during a routine check. Two hours later, he was found outside in the facility’s courtyard. The facility is staffed 24 hours a day, and individuals require key passes to get in and out.

The same news report indicated that the same assisted living facility faced a lawsuit only 2 years ago, for failing to protect a resident who was killed by another resident. The previous incident occurred at a different location in NJ. The recent case is being investigated. Source:, Elderly Man Found Dead Outside Assisted Living Facility

Related: Proving Negligence in a Pennsylvania Nursing Home Accident, Neglect Case

Liability in Nursing Home Supervision Cases (Resident Wandering Cases)

Nursing homes and other long term care facilities such as assisted living facilities may face liability for negligence in supervising residents. Common claims in these types of lawsuits include:

  • failure to supervise residents with dementia,
  • failure to provide adequate personnel/staff,
  • failure to adhere to proper resident checkup protocol, and
  • failure of security systems.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has skyrocketed over the last few decades. As more and more individuals and their families face these mind-robbing diseases, care facilities entrusted with their care must do more to ensure that basic safety needs are being met.

Related: Suspect Abuse/Neglect in a Pennsylvania Nursing Home? Here’s What You Should Do

Residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s are absolutely capable of wandering and succumbing to exposure, hypothermia, hyperthermia, etc. Some residents have been known to climb out of windows; others simply walk out the front door. A nursing home in New Jersey or Pennsylvania may be liable when a resident with dementia walks out and gets injured in an accident or even worse, dies.

In addition, a nursing home may be liable when a resident wanders if there is evidence that the nursing home failed to provide adequate staff and/or failed to adhere to internal procedures re: checking up on residents. In the vast majority of nursing home resident wandering cases, the litigation process is likely to reveal evidence supporting multiple claims of negligence against the nursing home.

With advances in modern technology, nursing homes and long term care facilities often use sophisticated technology like key codes, key FOBs, electronic bracelets, etc. These types of technologies are, however, expensive to install and maintain, and like any other technology, they are subject to failure. In nursing home resident wandering cases, these technology companies may also face liability, if it can be proven that the specific device malfunctioned, and as a result, the nursing home failed to notice the missing resident.

PA & NJ Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse Lawyers

If a loved one wandered away from a nursing home or other long term care facility, please call our office to schedule a free consultation. Our nursing home neglect & abuse lawyers are passionate about protecting the legal rights of elderly and disabled individuals. (215) 985-0777

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