"We are devoted to providing consulting and educational programs to improve facility methods to properly utilize technology and procedures to attempt to prevent elopements, to improve facility elopement policies, to improve facility and patient assessment techniques, and to improve facility Elopement Response Plans resulting in improved patient safety"
The National Institute for Elopement Prevention and Resolution (NIEPR) was founded in 2001. At that time we determined that there was very limited help for those dealing with patients/residents or loved ones at risk for elopement. This Institute was developed to assist and educate Accute Care Hospitals, Long Term Care Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities, Group Homes, and Inpatient Accute Mental Heath Hospitals caring for those who suffer from illnesses that debilitate and diminish the individual’s ability to care for themselves (which can lead to elopements). We recognize that many illnesses, medical conditions, and medication reactions can cause an individual to elope from the care-giving environment.
Attempting to prevent elopements is an essential part of patient/resident safety. Our organization works hard to educate facilities in developing a layered system for protecting their residents/patients. The total system must include policies, care-plans, resident/patient and facility assessment, elopement prevention technologies, staff education and training, and the elopement response plan for when an elopement occurs. They must also be aware of the Federal and State requirements which for long term care includes appendix Q (attachment C) and the new combined Tag F323 . Finally, we are active in promoting the development of new and better technology to help monitor those at risk for elopement while maintaining the maximum therapeutic environment.
While all professional Hospitals and facilities should do everything possible to attempt to prevent elopements, it is a common misconception that all elopements can be prevented.
For elopements that will occur, a high quality Elopement Response Plan is a must for every facility and family caring for those at-risk. This plan must be easy to use, comprehensive, efficient (to prevent diminished level of care for current patients/residents when an elopement occurs), and provide complete documentation of the incident. It must be practiced, evaluated, and updated on a regular basis.
Elopement has ranked in the top 10 on the Joint Commissions list of Sentinel Events. Facilities across the nation are being fined by State surveyors and litigated out of existence (10% of all litigation against Long Term Care facilities involve an elopement). In Delaware, a Jury awarded $18 million dollars in damages against a Long Term Care facility for a single elopement incident! According to CNA the average out-of-court settlement for 2009 is $393,650.00. This is all happening at a time when the need for inpatient accute care, long term care, and assisted living continues to grow.
We at the National Institute for Elopement Prevention and Resolution are prepared to assist you with upgrading your elopement prevention technology, policies, and plans. Should you find your facility involved in litigation or State fines after an elopement incident, we stand ready to assist you with an experienced CLNC capable of providing you an independent review of the elopement incident, Medical/Legal consulting, and Expert Witness services. Please feel free to call us anytime you have questions concerning elopement issues.