Nursing facilities try to prevent seniors from wandering away from the facility, but this becomes especially problematic when seniors experience agitated purposeful wandering. It is a form of wandering where seniors believe that they have a reason to go somewhere. Seniors with dementia are prone to wandering, but any senior can wander under the right conditions. All it takes is a little confusion.
Signs of Agitated Purposeful Wandering
Seniors that experience agitated purposeful wandering often exhibit signs of having a problem before, during, or after the incident. If left unaddressed, these issues may lead to further incidents and risk the health and safety of patients in nursing care. The signs to look for include:
The signs that indicate agitated purposeful wandering can vary based on each person. Some of the signs only appear during the incident, making it difficult to detect ahead of time. However, the careful observation of seniors and interference when necessary can prevent injuries and ensure that seniors get the help that they need.
Strategies for Managing Wandering Behavior
Every nursing home should have strategies for wandering behavior. Wandering is a somewhat common occurrence and is more common for seniors with memory care needs. The most common strategies focus on monitoring and prevention. There are emergency response pendants that can also be used to track seniors within a facility. If they try to exit from the facility, the staff will be notified by an automated system. Facilities also rely on door monitoring systems, like security cameras, locks, and door alarms to intercept seniors before they leave.
Prevention has also proven to be an effective way to reduce agitated purposeful wandering incidents. Care providers use a variety of activity-based techniques to reduce seniors’ need to wander by being proactive about daily activity. Seniors go on walks and participate in activities so that they don’t feel the need to get up and move around on their own when no one else is around. By proactively addressing the need to be active, seniors will be less likely to get up and leave when they are unsupervised.
Dangers of Agitated Purposeful Wandering
Agitated purposeful wandering can be dangerous for seniors, especially seniors with disabilities or cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s. Without caregivers around, seniors risk injuries and other complications that they cannot receive expert help for right away. Some of the dangers of agitated purposeful wandering include:
- Getting lost
- Missing medications
- Fall injuries
- Becoming an easy target for criminals
These are just some of the dangers of agitated purposeful wandering. However, it is not a comprehensive list. There are dozens of ways that seniors can get hurt while wandering unsupervised
Reasons for Wandering
Wandering is generally due to seniors being confused. Agitated purposeful wandering involves seniors that are confused about their situation and are trying to go somewhere for some reason. It does not matter if the reason is real or not since the person that is wandering believes that the reason is real. This makes addressing agitated purposeful wandering difficult for care providers since it is difficult—if not impossible—to convince the patient otherwise. In many cases, the stress of the situation can also lead to irritable or even violent behavior from the patient.
Many seniors wander because they are confused about where they are. Often seniors that are new to a care facility can forget that they moved into the facility and try to leave. In other cases, seniors believe that they have an appointment or something important to do and wander while trying to get to their appointment.
Nursing Home Responsibilities
For anyone in the care of a nursing home, the facility is responsible for ensuring their safety. This includes preventing and responding to wandering in a reasonable manner. Many facilities use a collection of methods to try to minimize wandering, but accidents do happen. If you think that your loved one was in an agitated purposeful wandering incident, consult Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to ensure that your loved one is well cared for.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
Wandering and elopement can be dangerous for people in the care of a nursing facility. The facility is responsible for ensuring their safety. Unfortunately, some facilities fail to protect their patients.
Agitated purposeful wandering can put seniors at risk for injuries and other negative health outcomes. If you know someone that is injured as a result of a recent wandering or elopement incident, a law team that specializes in wandering and elopement can help you hold the nursing facility accountable. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336, and let us help you investigate and litigate a wandering and elopement case.