NY Nursing Home Attorney Report: Brooklyn Nursing Home Cited After Elopement Incident

In its June 14, 2010 inspection report, the Department of Health cited Marcus Garvey Nursing Home in Brooklyn for violation of regulations applicable to New York nursing homes. The violation details substandard quality of care with respect to wandering and elopement of patients within the facility.

Title 10 Section 415.12(h)(2) of the Code states: “The facility shall ensure that each resident receives adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents.” The deficiency report details a resident, referred to as Resident #1, with documented and frequent elopement attempts. Although the facility labeled Resident #1 as an elopement risk, his picture was not in the elopement risk photo book at the security desk, nor was he on the elopement risk list. Resident #1 successfully eloped on 5/29/2010. Resident #1 was missing for appriximately seven and a half hours before his family informed the facility that they had located him in the Bronx.

wanderer.jpgAmong its residents, Marcus Garvey Nursing Home had identified nineteen residents as potential elopement risks. Despite this number, the Director of Nursing was unaware of the facility’s use of wander guards to prevent elopement, stating that she “did not really read the policy.” The facility Administrator was unaware of the Residents at Risk for Elopement book, stating that photos of such residents are posted by the security desk. At the time of inspection, two pictures were posted on the security desk wall.

Wandering and elopement pose a serious threat to elderly nursing home residents. Unmonitored wandering can lead to falls and fractures, among other consequences. Merely identifying residents who pose such a threat to themselves is not enough. Facilities must ensure that these residents are not allowed to wander and create additional risk for themselves. An individualized comprehensive care plan is a necessary first step. Following through on these care plans is equally, if not more, important.

Website Resource: New York State Department of Health

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