Wandering and Elopement
Wandering and Elopement at Sacred Heart Care Center in Austin Minnesota


Sacred Heart Care Center Austin Complaint Findings for Neglect – Supervision

In a report concluded on June 8, 2011, the Minnesota Department of Health cites Sacred Heart Care Center Austin for neglect of supervision – wandering.

The allegation is neglect of supervision based on the following: Resident #1 was not adequately supervised when she was found away from the building in her pajamas and on a bridge.  Staff was not aware that she had left the building.

According to alz.org, anyone who has memory problems and is able to walk is at risk for wandering. Even in the early stages of dementia, a person can become disoriented or confused for a period of time. It’s important to plan ahead for this type of situation.  Be on the lookout for the following warning signs:

Wandering and getting lost is common among people with dementia and can happen during any stage of the disease.

  • Returns from a regular walk or drive later than usual
  • Tries to fulfill former obligations, such as going to work
  • Tries or wants to “go home,” even when at home
  • Is restless, paces or makes repetitive movements
  • Has difficulty locating familiar places like the bathroom, bedroom or dining room
  • Asks the whereabouts of current or past friends and family
  • Acts as if doing a hobby or chore, but nothing gets done (e.g., moves around pots and dirt without actually planting anything)
  • Appears lost in a new or changed environment

The Alzheimer’s Association offers programs designed to assist in the monitoring and return of those who wander.  MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® is a nationwide identification program designed to save lives by facilitating the safe return of those who wander.

Tips to prevent wandering. Wandering can happen, even if you are the most diligent of caregivers. Use the following strategies to help lower the chances:

  • Carry out daily activities.
  • Having a routine can provide structure. Learn about creating a daily plan.
  • Identify the most likely times of day that wandering may occur.
  • Plan activities at that time. Activities and exercise can reduce anxiety, agitation and restlessness.

Reassure the person if he or she feels lost, abandoned or disoriented.  If the person with dementia wants to leave to “go home” or “go to work,” use communication focused on exploration and validation.  Refrain from correcting the person. For example, “We are staying here tonight.  We are safe and I’ll be with you.  We can go home in the morning after a good night’s rest.”

  • Ensure all basic needs are met.
  • Has the person gone to the bathroom? Is he or she thirsty or hungry?
  • Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation.
    This could be a shopping malls, grocery stores or other busy venues.

Read more: http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-wandering.asp

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 wandering elopement or any other form of elder abuse or neglect contact Elder Abuse and Neglect Attorney Kenneth LaBore at toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.


Sacred Heart Care Center Austin Neglect Substantiated

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