Growing up, one of my passions was reading, and one of my favorite book series was Little House on the Prairie. For an only child living in a small country town with a single father, this series resonated with my desire to explore and see other places and experience new adventures. One of my favorite lines in the book is when Pa says early on that his “wandering foot” is itching, and then packs up the family to move to uncharted lands.
Over the years I too have had a “wandering foot”. I have developed an innate desire to travel and have been blessed to enjoy many opportunities. It all started my Junior year in High School when I became an exchange student and spent a year in Australia. At the age of sixteen, I walked onto a plane and flew to a new place I had never been before, met new people who I didn’t know and who didn’t know me. It was scary at first, until I met a good friend who helped me with the language, and showed me how to get around, and made me feel comfortable just being there.
But two years ago, I took a trip into a place that I did not anticipate I would ever visit. I had to have surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. Because of this surgery, I experienced short term memory loss. I could get facts in, but if I did not write them down, or got distracted, it was hard to get them out again. Remembering phone numbers, names, or where I parked became a challenge. Suddenly, I was in this new land where once again I didn’t seem to know everyone, or know everything like I used too. Just like visiting a new country for the first time, I felt scared and alone. But, through rehabilitation, and by using good tools, I have found ways to compensate for this loss.
In our world today, there are many people with similar or worse memory challenges in their lives. It could be from brain tumors like me, or from other diseases like dementia, or even from head trauma. Whatever the cause, without anticipation many people have taken a trip into the world of memory loss and are living lives that are very challenging. The most challenging aspect of this world of memory loss is the potential to get up and wander and not know where they are going. They may set out intending to go somewhere, but quickly forget, or their mind tricks them into thinking they are going to a place from the past. In either case, the result could place them in a dangerous situation because they do not know how to return to safety, or they do not know where they have gone. When these people become patients in a healthcare facility, they are in a new environment and the risk for unintended self-harm rises exponentially. They really need to be protected.
IMS has been protecting adult wandering patients for over seventeen years. We have a variety of solutions that allow facilities to place non-obtrusive tags on patients that will alarm if the patients try to leave the facility. This takes the burden off the clinical staff for watching these patients, as they may or may not be highly mobile. Our solution set also includes options with tags that include Tamper protection. Adults will sometimes try to remove the tags, and our system will alarm to let you know that this has occurred.
I found a friend to help me in Australia. She was a life saver. An adult Wander Protection System can literally be a life saver for patients facing memory challenges. Call IMS today to get more information so you too can provide that needed friend for those patients in your care.