Is it safe to lock my wandering dementia dad in his room at night? The nursing home does it, can I?

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My father had a recent physical decline, hospitalization, rehab, and has been scheduled to come home Thursday. I am happy his physical strength has returned, it make caregiving much easier when your not lifting them 2. My question, is there a safe way to "contain" or "lock" dad in the house or even his room at night? Or is this an "act" in care giving that could get me in trouble? He has sundowners, not even the nurses can keep him in bed, he is full blown stage 6 with hallunications, anxiety, anger, and has even left the house at 3am to get the mail. Has anyone found anything that works?!

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Samantha, yes it is legal to lock them in ONLY IF you are locked in with them. IF they call 911 and the responders find them locked in and alone, you will be charged with gross neglect and/or endangering their welfare.
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is it legal to lock the house with dementia patient inside
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Good reality check, Pam. I answered before even realizing this was an old post. Duh...
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We never heard from teb4040 again, and I'm going to guess that Dad went to long term care.
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I would really be hesitant to even consider locking anyone in a room, regardless of how many fire and carbon monoxide alarms might be installed. I would also think that to even consider it, you should have access to the outside from that room, such an exterior door leading to a ramp.

I would instead explore motion sensors that alert when he crosses the threshold of his bedroom, as well as additional sensors along the path to the exterior doors so that if you don't hear one sensor, there are additional backups to alert you before he gets outside.

You might also consult with the fire department to see what they would recommend.
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First of all it is wonderful that you are concerned about your father and his well-being, however it is ILLEGAL and it violates the right of your father dementia or not to lock him in his room. Locking him in the room will only make matters worse for him, making him more anxious and agitated. Finding out what makes him agitated can help you figure out what you need to change in his room or routine. If he wanders at night the caregivers MUST redirect him, find out what he needs, maybe he needs to use the bathroom, cold or hot, or hungry. Bed alarms that will trigger when they get up also helps, but use the ones with the alarms outside of his room so you don't scare him. NEVER lock anyone anywhere. This nursing home can get in very big trouble and can even be shut down. I know this because I work in a facility.
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I saw in rehab an alarm system that clipped to the patients clothes on one side and the wheelchair on the other. It was loose, so it did not restrain the patient in any way. If the patient stepped or fell out of the chair, the 2 pieces separated and had a VERY loud alarm. You could do this with a bedpost and the pajamas.

Unfortunately if the wandering is a nightly event, he cannot be left to wander, and you cannot be attending every night as you need your sleep. In my opinion, nightly wandering starts to necessitate 24 hour (on the job)attendance, you may need an overnight caretaker or to consider a facility.
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Nursing homes don't lock people in their rooms--they lock the outside doors. They mostly control wandering with bed alarms, motion sensors, and locked/alarmed exit doors. You're better off locking the problematic areas of the house (knives, chemicals, garage, etc.) than locking the person. It sounds like you have home care. If they can't deal with him one on one, it's almost certain you can't design a system to safely lock him into a house or room.

If you worry about him wandering into someone else's room, let them lock their own door.

In addition to safety concerns about locking people up, in Texas, the legal system takes a dim view of locking sick and elderly people up (or tying them down, for that matter).

In rare instances a person in a hospital or NH might be restrained for their personal safety. They can use physical restrains or put people in a tent bed, which is pretty much what it sounds like, a bed with a zippered net tent over it. But a doctor has to order these restraints and specifically list the time, duration, and cause for each use. You can't buy them over the counter without a prescription. There has to be someone nearby on call and a way for the person to call to get help.

There are laws restricting the use of physical restraints and you would almost certainly be in violation of them if you installed one at a private house. The same is probably true of locking people in their rooms.
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I would not lock someone in a bedroom at night. Ever. I know how claustrophobic I would suddenly become if I woke up and couldn't open my bedroom door. I would not put someone else into that panic. Like the cap'n, my goal was to know where my husband with dementia was at all times. I used a baby monitor and a motion sensor and the electronic alarm on the doors to make sure I knew when he changed location.
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nursing homes can lock elders in because an evacuation plan and the manpower to impliment it are in place. besides most have emergency exits that arent locked but alarmed.
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