To address elopement risk at Glenwood Care Center, we use false bookshelves that are placed in the glass doors or at the front entrance every evening until morning to decrease the visibility of the front entrance as residents wheel themselves around in the evening. As a result, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of residents attempting to leave through the glass doors that have open sight lines to the parking lot.

Another initiative we have implemented with the Therapy department is the Baby Doll program. First we identify residents who score within an appropriate range on GDS and FAST cognitive assessments for a non-pharmacological intervention for anxiety, restlessness, to reduce falls and to reduce elopement risk. When we identify an appropriate resident, we obtain consent from families to provide ethnic-specific baby dolls for residents and initiate programming.

By transporting residents back to their motherly or fatherly roles with a “job” to care for their babies, we have found that residents are less likely to be restless in bed and in their wheelchairs, have less anxiety looking for family, and have an overall sense of calm. The program has allowed for a gradual reduction in medication dosage, reduced attempts to get up unassisted, and reduced episodes of wandering and elopement risk.

By Aimee Bhatia, DOR & Cherryll Santos, DON