Long-Term Care

Responding to an elopement

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, January 13, 2011

It is absolutely critical that your facility has a plan in place for responding to an elopement. If you see a resident who you know should not leave trying to exit the building, stop the resident by distracting him or her with something of interest. Offer a diversion activity or a snack to get attention. If that doesn’t work and the resident refuses to cooperate, get help from other staff if possible. Whether or not you have help, do not leave the resident for any reason. A confused person can wander out into the street or fall into a ditch in seconds. Continue redirecting the resident into the building. Should you suddenly discover that a resident is missing, the following steps should be taken:

  • Conduct a thorough and organized search of the building immediately and rapidly. Each employee should have specific search instructions and all nooks (i.e. showers, closets, under beds) should be checked.
  • Do a thorough search of the grounds. If there is enough help, two people should go outside immediately and walk around the building with each going in the opposite direction.
  • If the resident is not found, call the administrator right away and explain in detail what happened. Follow his or her instructions. The administrator will likely contact the resident’s family, but you may need to contact 911 to notify police and emergency responders.
  • If the police take over the search, be prepared to provide important information about the resident (name, gender, physical description, time discovered missing, mental and physical condition, contact information for any known friends and relatives).

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The CNA Training Solution, Second Edition.

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