How to Prevent Wandering in Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents suffering from cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s are at great risk for wandering. This is of great concern, as wandering can lead a resident into an unsafe or unknown area, which may result in serious injury. It is important, therefore, to ensure you place your loved one in the hands of a nursing home that has dedicated resources and tools in place to help prevent wandering.
Specific Wandering Prevention Procedures
According to a manual published by the Healthcare Association of New York, there are several defined steps every nursing home can take to avoid wandering:
- Individual assessments: The nursing home staff should run assessments on your loved one to determine his or her risk for wandering. This assessment should occur upon initial admission to the facility and after any change in your loved one’s status. The staff should note any risks for wandering in your loved one’s care plan and list out specific steps the staff will take to prevent any instances.
- Increased supervision: If your loved one has a high risk for wandering, the staff should take immediate steps to increase supervision, especially during times of probable wandering, including after mealtimes and at night.
- Alarms: There are special alarms that the staff can use to deter wandering. These include door alarms and bracelet alarms that fit around a nursing home resident’s wrist or ankle. These alarms require regular checks to ensure they are working properly.
- Staff drills: The nursing home administrator should require the staff to perform wandering and elopement drills on a regular basis so the staff understands what happens should they fail to keep a cognitively impaired resident from leaving the premises.
If the care providers in your loved one’s nursing home or other assisted living facility do not take any of these steps, speak up. Ask them questions, push them to increase their wandering prevention activities, and speak to a nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer to see what your options are for getting better care for your loved one.
Connect with The Rooth Law Firm at (800) 350-0646 or through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case.
General Interventions for Patients Who Wander
The staff and the patient’s family should all become familiar with the general interventions they can use to prevent wandering and elopement. For instance, everyone should learn the simple art of redirection, meaning they should attempt to focus the resident’s attention on a new activity. Additional interventions include talking to the resident about where he or she wants to go and validating his or her concerns.
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