Ensuring the safety and well-being of residents is crucial in assisted living, memory care, and psychiatric facilities, but caregivers cannot always keep eyes on every patient. Wander management technology is one way for caregivers to monitor patients and their locations in the facility, without having to constantly watch them.
This technology is most commonly used in memory care facilities to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia patients from wandering off or getting lost. It also assists in preventing patients from traveling into restricted areas or leaving the facility unexpectedly.
There are several options for wander management systems, and all of them typically utilize one or more of the following system components:
- Wearable location monitors are real-time location tracking devices that connect to the system using Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. Patients typically wear these on a bracelet or lanyard.
- Access controlled doors, gates and elevators ensure patients do not exit the facility unattended or wander into restricted areas.
- Nurse call integration allows patients to alert caregivers to their location if they need help, usually by pressing a call button.
These system components are very effective when used individually, but provide the most security when used collectively. Combining and integrating these system components leads to a streamlined, highly functional system and fewer worries for caregivers. For example, if location monitors are integrated with the access control system, the facilities doors, gates, and elevators can be delayed when patients are nearby. Integrating location tracking with nurse call integration helps caregivers quickly find out who needs help and where to quickly respond to a situation.
One of the only drawbacks to wander management technology is the cost associated with the various system components. One way to maximize effectiveness while minimizing cost is to utilize wireless devices that do not require infrastructure cabling.
Another important issue to consider is maintaining the dignity of patients, especially in the case of wearable location monitors. The best way to combat this is to ensure wearables are comfortable, discrete, and do not get in the way of daily activities. Some manufacturers even make wearables that resemble fitness tracking bracelets for added style and dignity.
Wander management systems can be extremely beneficial for a variety of facility types. By considering these factors and options, as well as your facility’s unique needs, you are sure to find a wander management solution that keeps your residents and patients safe, and healthy while making caregivers’ jobs a little easier.
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