Long-Term Care

Trainer’s tip: Managing wandering

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, March 24, 2011

Diversion activities may help with wandering or pacing behaviors. Those activities can capture the resident’s interest and take his or her mind off the feelings that are causing the wandering. Diversion activities include hobbies, reading, social interaction, listening to music, and pet therapy.

If you determine the wandering is not associated with a physical need, such as thirst, hunger, pain, fatigue, or the need to use a bathroom, you might consider providing a safe space for walking or exploring. Some facilities make the halls circular so residents won’t come to a dead end. It is not a good idea, however, to let residents pace constantly for long periods of time. Some people with dementia will walk most of the day and sometimes the night, exhausting themselves in the process unless someone stops them. This kind of excessive wandering is harmful, but short periods of walking can work off restlessness if done in a safe setting.

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The CNA Training Solution, Second Edition.

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