How to keep my wife out of other residents rooms?

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My wife is in a skilled nursing facility. She is in the later stages of Frontal Temporal Dementia and gets around by wheel chair. She is pretty much in her own little world most of the time. Some days rolls all over the facility, up and down the halls and now starting to go into other residents rooms. I do not see her trying to cause any harm, usually she will just roll in and sit there even if the other resident is in the room. Like most memory care residents she may pick up something and roll off with it but only because they do not understand that it is not there for them to take.


Going into others rooms is a red fag at the facility and I know that their has been at least one complaint recently. It has not been discussed yet but I know it is coming. So, I am trying to get ahead of the curve and be proactive but really have no clue what to do to stop this from occurring. My understanding from the previous incident is that the facility cannot "restrain" anyone and that includes many things which the state considers "illegal restraint". The staff so what they can but hard to watch her every minute.


Anyone have any suggestion on how to deal with this ?


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Thanks Sunnygirl1, it has been a long 8-9 years. My dad was diagnosed in 2005 and died in 2014. My wife started having noticeable memory problems in 2009 and diagnosed a few months later. I am lucky that I was able to retire early and watch after things. Like you, I have spent way to much time in Assisted Living & Memory Care. Due to his aggressive behavior and rabid cigarette habit he had a sitter from 7:00AM till 9:00PM 7 days a week for 7 years while in Assisted Living. The total cost for it all was truly unbelievable.

Yes that's what I have found. Even in Assisted Living it was pretty common for someone to wander into my dad's room. Laundry was and is an issue in Memory Care, but I understand the problem and stay calm. Unfortunately new residents families at times get upset easily and can be difficult but only because they have no experience. Over time they usually figure it out and things get back to normal.
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Oh my, JDP1000, you really have been through it. God bless you, for your concern and involvement.

I would discuss your thoughts with the team and see what ideas they have for her care plan. I've spent a lot of time in Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities. With the dementia patients, I just don't know how you can prevent them from visiting other residents rooms and/or picking up things that do not belong to them. Short of constant all day supervision, one on one. I don't think most facilities can provide that, unless you hire someone privately. Please let us know how it turns out.
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No No....that's exactly what I am concerned about. I do not want my wife hurt nor do I want another resident hurt. The fear of a broken hip is exactly why I moved her where she is and am reluctant to send her back. Going to facility tomorrow and see what they propose if anything.
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Well I've got an awful story to tell you right in line with this I heard on the news a few days ago

A woman wandered into another woman's room at a nursing home. A scuffle ensued. One woman got pushed to the floor, broke her hip and died a few days later in hospital.

Don't mean to frighten you but these things happen. Better nip it in the bud the best way you can.
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My experience with my dad has made me leary of these situations. He was in memory care (not where my wife was). He was quite combative the last year or so and was still in fairly good shape physcially. As he progressed my sister and I could see that the staff (almost all young girls) were scared of him when he got mad and combative. After he knocked out three windows and jumped out, climbed the patio fence and got out we could see things were a bit out of hand. We asked that they work with our geriatrician to come up with a med regimen to calm him down so that he did not hurt himself, the staff or more importantly another resident. The geriatritian revised his med's but the facility refused to administer them fearing a fine for "unlawful restraint". Sure enough a few weeks later he lightly tweaked the back of another mans head (med tech who saw and reported it used this terminology). The other mans family who flipped out, threatened to sue and my dad was asked to leave and placed under 24 hour watch at my expense. Now we had a dementia patient listed as "dangerously aggressive" and found it impossible to place him. The place that took him and was the skilled nursing facility where my wife is now. They worked with the staff doctor, adjusted the med's, gave him closer attention and we had no problems after that. He only lived another 6 months but he was calm and smiling the whole time.
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She is in the long term care area of a skilled nursing facility that cares for quite a few dementia patients and they are far better staffed than any of the "memory care units" I have been in. In fact, I placed her in a memory care unit first and she had so many falls and her arms, legs and butt were so bruised I moved her to the skilled nursing facility before she broke a hip. I cannot say it was all their fault, but it appeared to me that they did not have enough staff to care for the large number of advanced dementia patients they had. They simply could not watch them all every minute. Since the move, no falls an no bruises and the cost is 25% less. From what I have seen, if the memory care unit has a high number of long term residents under medicaid (and most do here) they staff as lightly as possible and hammer the private pay residents to make up as much as they can....and unfortunately we are private pay. I guess my point is I was willing to pay more for good care for my wife, but felt like she was not getting as good of care as I was paying for, instead I was just subsidizing the medicaid residents, so I took a different path. True at the memory care unit they wonder all around, in and out of each others rooms, things tended to go missing and quite often she was in clothes that were not hers but that was fine with me. I have seen this all before with my grandfather and my father so I understand but the falls were a major concern.

The dementia patients where she is are all in wheel chairs and most are beyond socializing I am afraid. I am sure this issue is just another phase along the way as she progresses. It will pass with in a couple of months but it could become an issue in the short term and I would prefer to keep her where she is.

Regardless of which place she is in she cannot be "unlawfully restrained" which as far as I can tell means she cannot be blocked from rolling around freely nor can she be medicated heavily enough to stop her desire to do so. The concern is not that she will steal anything its more that the dementia patients who are not as advanced get mad and as with most dementia patients including my wife, they have little empathy for others and cannot be reasoned with so it becomes a safety issue for them and my wife.
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This kind of thing happens in all the places I know of. It's just expected as far as I can see. My loved one is in Memory Care and I'm glad that the residents are able to visit in each other's rooms. They also enter into the tv room and socialize there. From what I can tell, if something goes missing, you either wait for it to turn up or replace it. That's why I either hang it on the wall securely or don't leave anything of value. I think the laundry misplaces more things than anyone else.
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Ask about moving her to memory care. It will go a lot better if it comes from you than if you wait for her to be injured by a panicked resident. Go see the Director of Nursing tomorrow and work it out.
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This is a problem for the nursing home to brainstorm. Her actions aren't unusual, after all. They'll have suggestions when it becomes a problem, in my opinion.

Although many states and many nursing homes do not allow seatbelt restraints or fastened trays, none that I know of forbid locking wheelchairs under dining or craft tables, as an example.

You might suggest that her wheelchair be somehow flagged so that when staff sees her in a room, they re alerted to make sure it's her room she's in.

Be cooperative when they suggest ways to solve this problem. This is far from their first rodeo.
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It sounds like she is in a facility that is not able to deal with this type behavior. This happened with my uncle, who had Alzheimer's. He kept wandering into women's rooms and frightening them. My cousins had to relocate him to a memory care facility that was able to take care of people who had this common problem.
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