Elopement and wandering tips for caregivers
As a caregiver preventing the dangers of wandering and elopement elders can be hard. Follow these tips to help you keep the elders from wandering or elopement.
Caregivers must be vigilant about the dangers of wandering and elopement. According to a case study, one in five people with dementia wander, and 72% of patients who elope will attempt to elope again. Potential hazards of wandering can include tripping and falling, trespassing, and entering into restricted areas, such commercial kitchens or chemical storage rooms. Wandering can also lead to weather-related exposures such as hypothermia and sunburn, potential harm from third-parties, walking into traffic, and the possibility of becoming frightened, fatigued, or confused.
Fortunately, elopement and wandering can be prevented with proper supervision and the right procedures in place. Be sure to follow the tips below to help protect both staff and clients from the dangers of elopement.
Staffing and head counts
Monitor staff-to-resident ratio and comply with best practices and state regulations. Schedule routine head counts to keep track of individuals and ensure they are accounted for.
Implement surveillance and monitoring
Monitor all entrances and exits with cameras and alarms. Use video cameras or motion sensors in areas surrounding the facility. Attach bracelets, or other electronic tagging, to residents who show wandering tendencies.
Train staff to recognize signs of elopement. If you have residents who have cognitive impairments, make a note in their files about wandering or elopement tendencies. Once a person is recognized as a potential wanderer, he or she should have an individualized prevention plan.
Develop a robust elopement policy to allow for instant notification to local authorities and family/guardians. Make sure family members and guardians are aware of elopement issues and can be reached at all times.
Plan and facilitate activities that fascinate residents to encourage them to stay within the designated area. Engaging activities keep residents occupied while also reducing restlessness and the desire to wander.
Communication is key to spotting elopement tendencies as they surface. Notify neighbors of this risk, so they know how to respond if they witness something.
Beyond these safety tips, the right insurance coverages can help provided additional protection for those unexpected circumstances. Find a local independent agent to discuss your unique business needs.