I work in a skilled nursing and rehab facility which has a separate secured unit for dementia patients. He talks about opening up these dementia units and allowing people to live throughout the facility. He doesn't want Alzheimer's patients to feel like outcasts and be placed in lock-down units. While I agree with making the facilities more visually appealing and home-like, I don't believe it would be practical nor safe to allow residents to live freely throughout the facility. Anyone else have any opinions?
I have worked in Alzheimer's & dementia units many times before. While I sort of agree with your point of view on this issue, I can also understand their side too. With the facility wanting to let these typical patients have more "freedom" there are many ways to make the facility safer for these patients. I've worked with pts. that liked to escape out of windows-well there are laser-like window alarms that they could use to help prevent this. There are red laser-like bands that are situated outside the windows & go off if a pt. tries to escape out the window. They could also have an alarm system/keypad code on all of the exits that would allow staff/the public easy access but make it difficult for the pts. to get out (and at the same time, make it easy for people to evacuate in case off emergency). They could put a fence outside with an alarm sensor for when the pts want to sit outside on the patio & "catch some rays" -just make sure there is supervisory staff in this area when the pt is outside. They would have to have keypads on the doors to the areas where the pt is not allowed (med closets, laundry closets, housekeeping, etc). There are those things called Wanderbracelets
that you put on wandering pts that will go off if they go near an exit or somewhere they're not supposed to be. They can get security cameras placed @ all the exits to watch for "escapees" etc. Since these pts have an increased risk of falls there are also special floors that can be put down that would make serious injuries less likely if the pt were to fall. (I can't remember exactly what it was but there are some floor designs that make pts like these be @ an increased risk for falls). All of these gadgets can be monitored @ the Nurses' Station & if an alarm goes off there is a wall setup that will show exactly where it is located, etc., so staff can get to the area in record time. Finally, the staff would just have to be more diligent & make sure they're not leaving unnecessary items laying around for the pts to get into. If they incorporate some of these methods, the pts would be safer & further integrated into the everyday goings on of the facility, (like bingo, music therapy, pet therapy, church or just interacting with other patients etc.) improving their quality of life. Whew! I hope this helps you out.
Last edit by KaringOne on May 3, '11
: Reason: misspelled word