Studies show that the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. will triple by the year 2050–from 5 million currently to over 13 million. This will increase the demand for skilled nursing facilities able to accommodate the security concerns posed by wanderers. Perimeter-based, radio frequency identification enabled security products are an effective and unobtrusive way to monitor wanderers in nursing facilities.
Wandering alert systems give people with Alzheimer’s the opportunity to enjoy their surrounding without direct supervision while maintaining their protection within a secured zone. Through the use of advanced RFID technology, wander alert systems allow facility staff to direct their attention toward the needs of residents in their care rather than worry about potential wanderers as well as protect against litigation costs associated with elopement. In 2009, the average out-of-court settlement for cases involving an elopement was $393,650.00.
There are many factors that residential care facilities should consider before they choose a monitoring system to accommodate the needs of potential wanderers in their care such as: the total cost of ownership, the instance of false alarms, multiple system integration, industry standard and regulatory compliance, technical support and customer service.
Installation costs, training time, the ability to upgrade, replacement components, operation costs, and responsive customer support will all contribute to the total cost of ownership for a wander alert system in a residential nursing facility. Understanding how these should influence your facility’s choice is key to finding a resident monitoring system to protect the potential wanderers under your care. It is important that you choose a wander alert system that addresses your current needs and allows you to easily upgrade in the future to meet your facility’s evolving challenges.
Perimeter-based resident security for wanderers is one of the protective systems used in a skilled nursing facility. As your administrative team considers different security equipment to monitor potential wanderers, be sure to inquire how easily it integrates with the existing systems your staff uses every day: nurse call, electronic access control (EAC), closed-circuit television (CCTV), fall detection, paging, etc.
Residential facilities entrusted with the care of potential wanderers are subject to many regulatory and insurance mandated protocols and equipment requirements. It is important to be sure that all security systems are compliant with NFPA, FCC, NEC, CA, ETL and JCAHO requirements.
If your facility cares for patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, your security for potential wanderers must work effectively all the time. This is why it is important to select a wander alert system that is backed by 24 hour technical support, a warranty, and local installation and service technicians.
All RFID-enabled security systems are subject to interference from many common electronic devices. Mobile phones, lighting ballasts, floor buffers and other sources of general electromagnetic interference can interfere with the function of the RFID security systems within your facility, resulting in false alarms. False alarms can lead to alarm fatigue and a dismissive distrust of the resident monitoring system by your staff. It is critical that you choose an RFID-enabled security system to monitor wanderers that uses technology that minimizes the risk of interference from electronic devices and has a proven record of alarm integrity.
As baby boomers retire and the number of people being treated for dementia rapidly increases, so will the need for skilled nursing care equipped to deal with wanderers. All of these facilities require RFID-enabled, perimeter-based wander alert systems to monitor this population and keep them safe. It is important for you to consider all of the aspects that influence the total cost of ownership and other factors as you choose what wandering alert system that is the best fit for your facility.