Kansas implemented its “Silver Alert” system in 2009 to help quickly locate senior citizens or people with dementia after they go missing. Around the same time, Missouri implemented its own version, the “SILVER Advisory” system. When the Silver Alert Protocol is announced in either state, local law enforcement agencies, media outlets, and other groups are notified about the missing senior or person with dementia. In this way, countless eyes and ears can immediately help find the missing person and return them safely to their home, be it a private residence or nursing home facility.
While the Silver Alert and SILVER Advisory systems have done so much good for the people of Kansas and Missouri, respectively, it is also important to realize why the systems were designed in the first place. About 15 years ago, legislators in more than a dozen states responded to growing concerns about senior elopement in nursing homes. Elopement is a serious form of nursing home abuse or neglect that involves an elderly nursing home resident being allowed to wander off the premises with no supervision. Depending on the location of the nursing home and how long the elder is missing, elopement can be extremely dangerous and result in the severe injury or death of the senior.
It is true that in some situations, the Silver Alert or SILVER Advisory system is used by a family that has realized an elderly loved one or a loved one with dementia has unexpectedly left home alone. However, when the system is used in response to an elderly resident leaving a nursing home alone, it is only addressing a symptom of the larger problem: nursing home negligence.
Legal Action After Elopement
Even when an act of elopement out of a nursing home ends with the elder returning to care unharmed, sometimes in thanks to the Silver Alert or Advisory system, the events that led up to it are most likely unacceptable. Under no reasonable circumstances should a nursing home allow an elderly resident to leave unattended, not even for a minute. When this happens, an investigation should be conducted to look for signs of nursing home negligence, and the family of the senior might be able to take legal action against the nursing home or assisted living center.
At the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. in Kansas City, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri, we proudly stand up for neglected seniors in nursing homes, as well as their families who trusted the nursing homes with their care. If your loved one was allowed to wander or elope off the premises of a nursing home and was put into danger as a result, then we want to hear from you. Our team of Silver Alert lawsuit attorneys has secured newsworthy victories for our clients throughout the years, including a $3-million result for an elopement lawsuit. Let’s see how we can help you, too.
Call (816) 597-4556 or contact us online now to learn more.