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Res Theory Nurs Pract. 2005 Summer;19(2):181-96.

A comparison of wandering behavior in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

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University of Michigan Ann Arbor, School of Nursing, MI 48109, USA.


Wandering, a challenging behavior associated with dementia, affects many residents of long-term care facilities and can result in elopement, injury, and death. Most studies of wandering have taken place in nursing homes (NH). Expansion of the long-term care sector over the last 2 decades has resulted in a surge in options such as assisted living facilities (ALF). This study compared wandering behavior of residents (N = 108) in 21 long-term care facilities (15 NH, 6 ALF). Staff used the Revised Algase Wandering Scale-Nursing Home Version (RAWS-NH) to quantify wandering. While there were some differences in demographic variables (i.e., race, motor ability) between NH and ALF participants, no significant differences were found in either RAWS-NH overall or any of the 6 subscale scores. This suggests that the expression of wandering is similar in long-term care residents across all dimensions of the RAWS-NH regardless of facility type. Findings are of concern for those involved in the safe management and protection of residents at risk for wandering, particularly in long-term care facilities with underregulated staffing and training requirements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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