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Prevention Techniques for Wandering/Elopement

By Heather Brown
December 16, 2014

1) Staff should be aware that the first week upon admission of any resident is critical for observing the resident’s adjustment and propensity for elopement.

2) If a resident is known to wander and has a history of elopement, staff must daily write what the resident is wearing (ex: blue plaid shirt, navy pants, red suspenders, white tennis shoes).

3) Take a picture of every resident on admission. One should be a close up of the face and one full body picture showing height, stance and distinguishing characteristics (ex: widow’s hump, bow legs, any durable medical equipment used such as walker or cane etc.).

4) If a facility admits residents who wander, the building must have alarmed doors or secured locked doors.

5) Notify local police and neighbors when a resident who wanders is admitted to the facility so they can be alerted if the resident does elope from the facility. If a resident leaves/wanders from the facility and will not come back with the police, obtain a copy of the police report and any forms the resident signed for the police.

6) If it is the policy for your facility to have a resident use “time out” after an altercation, and this resident may wander, the resident must have “time out” in the residence or if does go outside must be observed by a staff member until safely back inside the facility.

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