Wandering is a common problem among dementia patients. Becoming agitated, confused, or disoriented, these individuals can literally begin to wander away from safe and familiar areas, potentially getting lost or stumbling into dangerous territory. Naturally, dementia caregivers want to do anything they can to prevent this from happening.
That’s why many dementia care communities use wander management products, which are helpful for alerting the nursing staff any time a patient goes somewhere they shouldn’t. It’s important to know that not all wander management systems are created equal, however, and there are different factors to consider as you seek to choose the right wander management systems for your environment.
What to Look for in Wander Management Products
As you seek the best wireless wander alarm, keep these factors in mind.
It can be challenging to predict what your wander management needs might be a few years into the future. Indeed, there are a number of factors in play, including the number of dementia patients under your care, the number of caregivers, the layout of your facility, and even your technological infrastructure.
Our advice? Look for a wireless wander alarm product that can grow with you… something that is either modular or flexible enough to provide you with some room to evolve.
The best wander management systems can be seamlessly integrated with your existing technologies—making it as easy as possible for your caregivers to do their job and provide optimal standards of patient care.
In particular, you’ll want a wander management solution that can be integrated with your nurse call stations, your CCTV or security camera system, and iOS and Android devices that are currently being used by your team.
In order for wander management solutions to work, residents must be “tagged” in some way. This tagging is what alerts the system when they breach the acceptable boundaries. Different systems have tags that can be applied in different areas—to the wrist, ankle, shirt collar, etc. There isn’t necessarily a right or a wrong here, but we do recommend talking with your clinical staff and working together on what would be most convenient and least invasive.
Along similar lines, you’ll want to ask the wander management vendor how long the tags will last—that is, what kind of shelf life/replacement date each one will have—and you may also want to ask about different ways to turn the tags off and on as needed.
How reliable is the wander management system’s alarm? This is critical: If you can’t depend on the alarm to go off when it’s supposed to, alerting your staff that their attention is needed, then the system really doesn’t do much good.
Look for a system that has multiple alarm options, and backup plans for issues such as low battery life, power outage, etc.
In a lot of ways, picking the product is less important than picking the vendor. Indeed, a good technology company will be able to offer access to a few different systems and walk you through the option that best fits your needs and your budget.
That brings us back around to Salient Networks, a technology solutions company with plenty of familiarity with wandering prevention and reduction.
Wander Management Solutions from Salient Networks
Indeed, we’ve been helping eldercare and senior living communities determine the best solutions for their wander management needs for a long time now. We have a lot of empathy for those who are trying to keep their patients safe and secure. (See: What Causes Wandering in Senior Living Communities?)