This is a sample policy and procedure for wanderers in an adult day care center:
The safety and well being of Adult Day Service participants will be a primary concern of the staff. Additional supervision and security measures will be incorporated into the program to safeguard participants who are "wanderers".
Identify participants with a history of wandering (as noted by family members or through Adult Day Service experience) to staff, students, and volunteers. Supervise participants who wander. These participants must never be "unattended". A staff member, student, or volunteer should always maintain visual contact with the wanderer. Ensure that a photograph of each participant is on file. Contact the local police department to familiarize them with the type of service we offer in their jurisdiction. This "non-crisis" contact will facilitate action when an emergency occurs. Maintain a list of phone numbers including police, local Emergency Management Agencies (EMA), local volunteer groups etc. to be called if a prolonged search is required.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN IF A PARTICIPANT IS MISSING Assign one person to coordinate the search effort. Search the building and immediate vicinity thoroughly. Conduct a brief search of the neighborhood if the participant is not found during the initial search of the building/vicinity. (Adult Day Service programming and other participants' safety should not be jeopardized when staff goes out to look for the wanderer). Coordinate the neighborhood canvas. Assign directions to travel and time away from the center. Staff will check in frequently to keep informed of the situation. Call the local police department to help in the search if a participant is not found within the immediate vicinity. Contact the participant's family after the local police have been notified. Notify the Illinois Department on Aging, the Veteran's Administration, or the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation of any incident involving a participant enrolled in ADC through that program. Notify Director, by pager, of the situation if the Director is not on site during the incident. Follow any further directions about who else to contact. Record a description of the incident and outcome in the progress notes of the participant file. Ensure that staff is available by the phone until the person is found. Forward Adult Day Service phone to home if necessary. Arrange for professionals (i.e., ministers, social workers, etc.) to be available, should a person be missing for a prolonged period. They will be able to help staff, family, friends and other participants deal with their feelings. Notify personnel outside of Adult Day Service with resolution of situation if they were involved in the search.
NOTE: MANY OF THESE STEPS WILL BE DONE SIMULTANEOUSLY OR WITHIN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.