March 12, 2015

Dementia-related Wandering in Residential Aged Care - Study Seeks Facts

Intrusion by wandering residents suffering with dementia into staff designated areas and other residents' rooms occurred less frequently than was suggested by staff and family in a study conducted by the Queensland University of Technology. 

Intensive observation of seven residents, who were known to wander, releaved a significant disparity between what staff and families think is happening and what is actually happening.

Dr Margaret MacAndrew, from QUT's School of Nursing said the problem is how to provide a safe, yet free, environment in residential aged care facilities for highly mobile residents who wander, get lost and were unable to locate their own rooms or sit down and rest.

She said, "Wandering out of bounds is seen as dangerous and risky because it most commonly results in an intrusion into another resident's personal space or room."

"This intrusion can and does lead to resident-on-resident violence if the room is occupied at the time, even though the person usually does not touch or take things, use the chair or bed, or talk to the other resident."

"Physically and chemically restraining people is an unacceptable option. Locking doors seems the one obvious option but that has its own issues with concerns about compromising the dignity and autonomy of residents," she said.

"What my study has revealed is a way to identify which residents may be most at risk of the type of wandering that creates tension and when and where it is most likely to occur.

"Dementia-related wandering is a very common behaviour that carers find troubling and difficult to manage," she said

"With one in 10 Australians over 65 having dementia and the number of new cases tipped to increase in the future, it is vital that we look for ways to manage the risks associated with wandering."

Maybo positive approaches to challenging behaviour including guiding and redirection 

Maybo training for residential care staff

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