Wandering Prevention – Part II

Today’s post is a continuation of the Critical Wandering Presentation that Marilee Dorn gave following the WCDAN monthly meeting on March 14, 2017.  All material from this series of posts is taken from Marilee’s handout.  It is important to note that all wandering prevention tactics must be balanced with the need to ensure fire safety, along with access and ease of use for caregivers and emergency responders.

TMarilee Dornhe second prevention component is Environmental: modifying the environment to enable the person to move about in a safe, non-intrusive manner within the structure.

  • Help the person stay oriented to time by placing clocks and calendars in various spots.  Day-of-the-week clocks are available.  Provide a view of outdoors to keep person oriented to the season of the year and to daylight and dark.
  • Remove trigger items from view, such as hat, coat, keys, which could signal to the person that it is time to leave.
  • Place large signs on the bathroom door to reduce wandering in search of the toilet.  Use a picture of a toilet as opposed to words if the person struggles with language.  You can do this to label the doors of other rooms as well to help identify the function of the room inside.
  • Place night lights in the bathroom and by the bed.
  • Place a photo of the patient, or a collage of significant photos, on their bedroom door.  Use a photo of the person from 20 to 30 years ago as that may be how he or she views self.
  • Provide continuity with room assignment.  If room must be changed, choose one with a window with a similar outside view and use the same furnishings if possible.
  • Reduce environmental distractions and anxiety-raisers, such as loud volume on the TV and radio, or flickering lights.
  • Design a quiet and comfortable place (rocker or recliner) for the person to sit if they become agitated.
  • Design a walking path that allows safe wandering with interesting destinations and objects along the way.  Curved and circular walking paths are good.  Place toys, art, and interesting items near the doors as distractions.
  • In care facilities, assign staff responsibility to know the location of each person.  Ensure caregiver vigilance.
  • Regularly check that doors and gates are securely locked and that other security features operate correctly.

Our next post in this series will be on March 17, 2017.

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