Study Examines Death, Injury Risks from Unexplained Absences among Nursing Home Residents

April 7, 2017 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Researchers calculated a rate of 82 deaths and 61 injuries per 1,000 incidents of unexplained absences of nursing home residents, according to an April 1, 2017, article in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA). The authors of the article conducted a systematic review across nine studies of 1,440 unexplained-absence reports concerning residents wandering or eloping from their nursing home with unknown whereabouts and without informing caregivers. According to the studies reviewed, most residents left by foot and were found within a 1-mile radius of place last seen, typically in green vegetation and waterways. Unfortunately, these absences can often lead to adverse outcomes, including death and serious injury.

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