Wandering Patients a Problem for Nursing Homes

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are two conditions that affect the elderly. Many of those with this condition are in care facilities. Despite being in supposedly secure facilities, patients with this condition have a tendency to wander.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 out of 10 patients with the condition will wander. This can put the patient in danger.

When residents of two Eastern Iowa nursing homes slipped away, the facilities faced combined fines of $17,000. In one of the cases, the resident left in the middle of the night and got a bloody nose after falling. In the other case, the resident hitched a ride to a business a mile away.

Wandering is a challenging behavior for nursing homes to address. Caregivers want to keep residents safe without restricting their movements unduly.

The two nursing homes, Willow Gardens and Rose Haven, had anti-wandering systems in place when the incidents occurred. The WanderGuard system sounds an alarm if a resident wearing a device approaches the exit. However, neither of the two patients were deemed to be a wandering threat.

In November, Rose Haven upgraded its security system to the Door Guardian System. The $20,000 upgrade requires people entering the facility to press a button. People that wish to leave the facility must input a code into a panel. Rose Haven also does a risk assessment for elopement for all residents.

Investing in the caregivers themselves may help to reduce the chances of elopement. Caregiver jobs are generally low-paying and come with little prestige. This makes it tough to keep quality employees.

Caregivers who are a part of their normal routine and know what the residents like to do may be able to engage the residents in activities that will keep them from wandering.

If you believe that you or a loved one have been the victim or nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law offices of Schenk Smith. Our attorneys will help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.