How Can Nursing Homes Reduce the Risk of Dementia Patient Wandering
For example, an assisted living facility in Park Rapids has been ordered to increase its security after a dementia patient wandering, he freely left the facility and was found walking along Highway 34.
The Care Age Country Home was investigated by the Minnesota Department of Health after the episode and was determined to have an insufficient security system, which included their alarm. It had obviously failed to alert the staff of the patient wandering.
In addition, the facility was found to have neglected the supervision that the patient requires. The Department of Health found that the facility’s perimeter alarm was not effective, which allowed to the patient to completely leave the property.
This is not the first incident of the patient wandering from the facility. In the two year period of 2010-2012, there were a total of 11 incidents in which the same client left the facility without being detected.
On June 9, two employees at the facility received a report from a member of the community who noticed that there was a man wandering around in the Eagle Bend Road area, which is a quarter mile away from the facility. Those two employees drove to where the patient was and brought him back to the facility.
Neither employee filed a report, each believing that the other employee was going to be filing.
The facility states that everything has been corrected. They have fixed a door alarm that was improperly set and they made some corrections with the staff, changing some of the procedures and safety policies that increase monitoring of the facility and the patients.
The client in question had a habit of trying to wander off during dinner, which is when the staff is very busy with all of the residents. There were several instances in which he was successful, as noted by the 10 previous incidents since 2010. Sometimes he would simply wander out on the deck and be brought back in.
The facility says that they have worked closely with the man’s family, so they are aware of his wandering tendencies, but the family wants him in that facility.
In 2009, a patient wandered away at night and this resulted in an air search for the care Age client. It was then suggested by the Hubbard County Sheriff that the patients be given wristbands to help locate them when they wandered.
It has been stressed by the Sheriff that Care Age is not the only assisted living facility that has lost patients.
Concerned About Patient Wandering or Elopement – Contact Adult Protection – Report Abuse
For more information from the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Health Facility Complaints concerning nursing homes, assisted living and other elder care providers view resolved complaints at the MDH website.
If you have concerns about resident wandering or elopement or any other form of elder abuse or neglect contact Minnesota Elder Abuse Attorney Kenneth LaBore toll free at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.