It's a hot topic. Dementia resident rights.

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I've heard that residents in a secured memory care community have to be allowed to leave the building if they stand at the door and ask to be let out. It's part of resident's rights. In other words, it usurps power of attorney legalities.
This will mean that communities caring for residents with dementia, will have to have someone to escort them out the door, in order to keep them safe and try to redirect them inside. This is going to raise the price of care.
Can anyone add to this and maybe give me the code in the law?

12 Comments

The only thing I could find was from Scotland and England. Perhaps someone else is familiar with it.
Sik, before I'd be concerned about this, I'd research and verify the sources. When I hear or read "I've heard", my thoughts are, "from whom"? And what are the qualifications of this source?

When you write that "it usurps power of attorney legalities", I think you're getting into a different area, i.e., that of rights likely afforded by statute to someone in a memory care unit, vs. authority granted in a DPOA. In most contracts I've seen that are well drafted, there's a provision that if any portion is ever superceded by statute, that portion of the contract is deemed to be subject to the overriding statutory provision.

I think it would be the same if a DPOA granted powers which were eventually overridden by legislation or case law.

Before even trying to find it legally, I'd like to know where you heard it from. If the source isn't reliable, searching for the statutory provision is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

You could also go directly to the source and ask someone in a memory care unit. They'd be versed on such a law if it existed.
This strikes me as being wrong. Imagine if it were true, then anytime someone says, "I want to go home," it would be a violation of rights not to open the door and release them. That doesn't happen, so there must be a written code on what can be done. What it is, I have no idea. Are people in locked memory facilities deemed incompetent, so considered unable to make sound decisions about such things? It seems likely.
I'm calling BS on this one. Sounds just like the DEATH PANEL crap the tea baggers tried to get going.
Well written, Windy. I would tend to agree. Any fool can start a rumor that spreads like wildfire and frightens people w/o justification. These kinds of rumors need to be stopped before they get too far along and cause so much damage and fear, as the so-called death panel rhetoric has.
I have never heard this before. Some facilities have a lock down for those who have extreme Dementia/Alzheimers. Family members are given codes to get in and out and are aware not to allow residents out of the unit without supervision. I have seen personel tell a resident they can't go out and take them back to their room or common room saying something "lets go see". I think facilities have been sued when someone gets out and something happens to them. I personally would not like the idea of my Mom being let outside because she wanted to. Now some places have a courtyard where people can go out and sit but all doors go back into the facility.
Can you imagine this for school children. The teachers would have to let them go outside if they said they wanted to. When a child enters a school or when a dementia patient enters a locked memory unit, I'm sure there are exceptions made to human civil rights that reflect the competence of the people. People in charge of the person place their loved ones in the care of these places with confidence that they will keep them safe inside.
Here is a report from the alz org of the UK that addresses competence and restriction of freedom.

http://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Ethics/Ethical-issues-in-practice/The-ethical-issues-linked-to-restrictions-of-freedom-of-people-with-dementia/Restriction-of-the-freedom-to-choose-one-s-residence-or-place-of-stay
The nursing home mom was in had a patio area that was escape proof. She also had an ankle bracelet that would trigger an alarm if she got within 3 feet of the main entry doors. Some states require secure outdoor areas, while others require patient supervision when going outdoors. Check your state rules.
Under Medicare/Medicaid see regulation 483.15 (d) "Participation in Other Activities"

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