Individualized care in a nursing home means taking the individual lives of new residents into consideration when determining an appropriate care plan. Although your loved one may need time to adapt to life in a nursing home, caregivers should prioritize their safety and comfort.
In fact, the Nursing Home Reform Act mandates that caregivers provide care for residents’ physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being. When nursing home residents, especially those with cognitive diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, feel bored, they may wander.
Mitigate Harmful Wandering
Wandering may not always lead to an accident, but caregivers need to supervise elderly residents for their safety. Mental stimulation and social contact help maintain good mental and emotional health, while appropriate levels of mobility can regulate cell replacement and digestion, as well as enhance mood. Wandering can have some preventable negative consequences, too.
When Wandering Proves Harmful
When nursing home residents wander and leave the premises or enter an unsafe place without supervision, the situation can quickly spiral out of control. Wandering unsupervised, or in an unsafe place can result in injuries, dehydration, weight loss, excessive fatigue, or agitation. In extreme cases, it may result in the death of an elderly loved one.
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Wandering May Communicate an Unmet Need
For people living with dementia, wandering can indicate an unmet need. In the case of recreational wandering, a resident may have tried to go to the bathroom, for example. For nursing home residents, fulfilling these needs keeps them secure and safe, but they rely on caregivers to assist them.
Meeting Recreational Needs
Nursing home residents may meet their recreational needs through any of the three following types of stimulation that help them engage with their surroundings:
- Exercise: Low-impact exercise for residents with mobility can have great health benefits. Physically engaging the body with an activity counteracts some of the physical impulses to wander. This may include getting fresh air, feeling sunlight, or simply moving.
- Exploration: When nursing home residents can safely explore their surroundings, they become mentally stimulated and more familiar with their home. Good familiarity and opportunities for exploration may prevent wandering.
- Interaction: A good sense of community can satisfy a nursing home resident’s psychological needs. Feeling engaged in simple social activities may help build rapport, improve mood, and fend off recreational wandering.
In some cases, recreational wandering happens when nursing homes fail to secure their premises. For example, if unlocked or unsecured doors remain available, a resident may wander to anything visually stimulating out of their confined space. While this may communicate a need for more engaging activities, it can also indicate overstimulation from external factors.
Preventing Harmful Wandering
When recreational wandering happens, one solution may not apply to all residents. An individualized approach to nursing home care can mitigate unique risks for wandering. The goal, of course, does not have to limit wandering completely but limit the potentially harmful effects of it. When nursing home staff practices risk management, they may prevent the harmful consequences of wandering.
You can help protect your loved one’s rights to independence and dignity by monitoring their care plan. You should see clear indications of measures that the nursing home takes to prevent your loved one from harm, in light of any cognitive disease or tendency to wander.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for Your Free Case Evaluation
Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide a standard of care to each of their residents. In order to protect your loved one’s rights in a nursing home, you may consider seeking legal help. When harmful accidents prove avoidable, you may have the right to hold liable parties accountable for abuse and neglect and collect compensation for losses your loved one endured.
If your loved one lives in a nursing home and tends to wander recreationally, you may have a reason to suspect nursing home abuse or neglect occurred. A nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may help you pursue compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses your loved one suffered after a wandering incident. For a free consultation, call us at (800) 201-3999.