Before a healthcare facility adopts any policies to deal with patient wandering and elopement, the staff must understand the reasons why patients want to leave or walk around, according to an article on the Campus Safety website.
An elopement is not the same as a patient leaving against medical advice (AMA). According to Tom Smith, who is president of Healthcare Security Consultants Inc., mislabeling AMAs as elopements can be a very big problem when a regulatory body is investigating an adverse event.
And with wandering, “they may be looking for a safe place, or they may be wanting a little bit of exercise,” says Hosson. “They may do it just to familiarize themselves with an unknown environment. The more we can discover why that person might be wandering, the easier it’s going to be to personalize their care and ensure their safety.”
One of the most important keys to preventing and mitigating wandering and elopement attempts is to identify that a patient has a history of this type of activity."