With more residents of nursing homes coming into the facility suffering from conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, systems that should prevent residents from being able to wander are often necessary. Often, these systems are comprised of alarms on doors that sound when they’re opened. They can also include monitoring anklets or bracelets that allow for a nursing home to track their patients in the event that they do get outside. Not every nursing home has these systems in place and sometimes, even those that are in place fail. The Watertown Daily Times reports on a resident escaping a nursing home and wandering.
The Washington Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation is investigating how a resident was able to leave the facility and climb a fence to begin walking down Route 40 last week.
An employee of the nursing home saw the resident walking down the highway and contacted police on April 10th. The employee then pulled over and waited with the resident for the police to arrive and escort them back to the home.
The resident was checked out by facility staff, including a physician, and was found to be unharmed.
The facility has a no wander system in place. However, it appears that the resident was able to override such a system by holding the door handle down for an extended period of time. An alarm did sound, but staff either did not react or did not react in time.
The resident was then able to climb a 6-foot tall fence.
As required by law, the State Department of Health will be notified of the incident.