Wander management systems have been in use for the past 25 years, ensuring the safety of Alzheimer’s and dementia residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care centers. And like other brand names that have become synonymous with their product, the term Wander Guard has become the generic name for this type of technology.
However there are many products on the market and while they all work to prevent wandering events they will vary in just how they do it. So it’s in any facility’s best interest to discover what system is appropriate for their needs.
Preventing patients with reduced mental capacities from leaving a facility is a top priority of any care center. The risk is high enough to place patient elopement in the top five of the list of Never Events health care concerns as rated by the National Quality Forum of The United States.
Elopements make up about ten percent of lawsuits against facilities and seventy percent of those involve a resident death. Wandering behavior affects approximately ten percent of senior living residents.
Wander management systems are an evolving technology and can “age out” of efficiency. Perimeter alarms, in which a simple door contact alarm sounds when it’s opened, is at high risk for alarm fatigue since any entrance or exit from staff, visitors and residents will cause an alarm. Keypads are sometimes used and can be effective but inconvenient if used at the main visitor entrance. The increasing size and spread of senior facilities can also mean there are several doors that need to be maintained. And regardless of safety measures, sometimes a door is just left open.
Older RF based wander management systems are vulnerable to outside interference as our world becomes increasingly wireless. Some may only sound an alarm without locking the door so if staff isn’t nearby the resident may still elude rescue.
Facilities that use a wander management system may have it only on main doors that enter or exit the building. It may be assumed that residents won’t attempt to leave by side doors, fire exits or even interior doors leading to staff-only areas. But Alzheimer’s and dementia patients often suffer from anxiety that manifests itself in continually attempting to leave. The urge to “go home” may drive them to test manner of door they encounter to get out.
At Accutech, we continually upgrade our products and technology to stay at the forefront of resident protection. The ResidentGuard system works with RFID (radio frequency identification) that creates a blanket environment to alert staff when a resident is near an entrance or exit. Accutech uses an “intelligent” radio frequency on the high end (418MHz) of the consumer radio frequency spectrum so the unit is less prone to outside interference. This keeps false alarms to a minimum and alarm fatigue at bay. Accutech systems have the lowest rate of false alarms in the wander management industry.
Residents wear a comfortable and adjustable wristband that responds to the radio frequency of the RFID unit. Hand held radios keep staff close at hand to any alarm so an elopement can be prevented before the resident can leave. Three different wander management system options are available so various facility environments can find the one that fits best.
The Accutech system creates an environment where all doors can be monitored at all times, making elopement much more difficult. Software support is easy to use, with a minimum training required, so all staff members will be able to use it.
The ResidentGuard system is a superior choice for any facility that wishes to avoid the potential tragedy of a wandering resident. We give families peace of mind that their loves ones are kept safe and facility staff can focus their attention on caring for all of their residents. If you’d like to learn more please contact us.
The original article can be found here.