Elopement and Wandering Systems


Elopement Systems

Care of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s requires preventive safety measures including elopement prevention systems–the risk of elopement in this patient population is high. To protect themselves against punitive litigation, facilities must mitigate this risk with perimeter-based security and monitoring systems. Businesses who provide residential care to people suffering from dementia face many regulatory requirements and legal threats regarding resident elopement–10% of litigation against long term care facilities involve an elopement, with an average out-of-court settlement of $393,650.00 in 2009.

There is an increasing demand for skilled nursing facilities prepared to accommodate the elopement risks associated with this population. Perimeter-based, radio frequency identification enabled security products are an established way to protect against elopement of residents suffering from Alzheimer’s in residential facilities. Elopement systems give Alzheimer’s and other “at-risk” residents the ability to move about their surroundings without direct supervision while maintaining their protection within a secured perimeter. By using advanced RFID technology, elopement security alert systems put staff at ease while directing their energies toward the needs of people in their care.

Considerations for Choosing an Elopement System

There are many factors that long term care facilities need to consider before they choose to install or upgrade their security systems to accommodate the needs of residents at risk of wandering and elopement: total cost of ownership, rate of false alarms, multiple system integration, industry standard and regulatory compliance, technical support and customer service.

Installation costs, training time, upgradeability, replacement components, operation costs, and comprehensive customer support all go into determining the total cost of ownership for an elopement system in a residential facility. Anticipating how these factors influence your facility’s choice is key to finding a security system to protect the residents in your care at risk of elopement. It is important that your choice of elopement system meets your current needs and allows you to expand and upgrade to meet your facility’s evolving needs in the future.

All RFID-enabled security systems are subject to interference from electronic devices. Mobile phones, lighting ballasts, floor buffers and other sources of general electromagnetic interference can hinder the function of RFID security systems within your facility and cause false alarms. These interruptions to the caregiving schedule of your staff can lead to alarm fatigue and a harmful distrust of the elopement system. It is critical that any RFID-enabled security system you choose to install in a residential nursing facility uses technology that minimizes interference from electronic devices and has a proven record of minimal false alarms.

A perimeter-based elopement system for residents with Alzheimer’s is one of many protective features in a nursing facility. As you research an appropriate elopement system for your facility, it is important to find out how easily it integrates with the other systems your entire staff relies on: nurse call, electronic access control (EAC), closed-circuit television (CCTV), fall detection, paging, etc.

Skilled nursing facilities caring for residents at risk of elopement are subject to many regulatory and insurance mandated protocols and equipment requirements. It is important to ensure that all security systems are compliant with NFPA, FCC, NEC, CA, ETL and JCAHO requirements.

Skilled nursing facilities care for residents  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, so elopement systems must function properly all the time. It is important that your facility choose an elopement system backed by around the clock technical support, a warranty, and local installation and service technicians available without unnecessary expense and delay.

The Elopement System Choice for Your Skilled Nursing Facility

As the next generation retires and the number of people with Alzheimer’s rapidly increases, the need for skilled nursing care for this population will cause a huge growth in bed capacity. All of these facilities will need RFID-enabled, perimeter-based elopement systems in order to ensure the safety of their residents and protect themselves from litigation. It is important that facility administrators understand what influences the total cost of ownership and other factors as they choose what elopement system is for them.

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