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West J Nurs Res. 2001 Apr;23(3):283-95.

Impact of cognitive impairment on wandering behavior.

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  • 1University of Michigan School of Nursing, USA.


The purpose of this study was to explore cognitive impairment as a predictor of wandering rhythm and pattern in a sample of 25 demented residents from two long-term care settings. Parameters of rhythm indicating cycle frequency and structure were examined for wandering patterns (random, lapping, and pacing) and for nonwandering (direct) ambulation. All measures of cognitive impairment (Mini-Mental State Exam, Mattis Dementia Rating Scale, and a neuropsychologist's clinical rating) were significant predictors of parameters signifying frequency of wandering for random and lapping patterns but not for the pacing pattern. In addition, for nonwandering ambulation, cognitive impairment predicted some parameters of cycle structure (mean locomoting and nonlocomoting phase durations) but not those denoting frequency of ambulation. Results indicate that cognitive impairment plays an important role in determining the frequency of wandering cycles, but other factors may better explain parameters that characterize its cycle structure.

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