Smaller communities, for example, may be looking for a simple, user-installed system – but may grow into a more sophisticated solution. Larger communities may need to start with more capabilities but are limited by budget restraints. Find a vendor that can scale and add capabilities as you need. A “one-size-fits-all” solution may fit your needs today, but think about if it will meet your needs in three or five years.
Integration with your community’s existing systems is essential for an effective wander management system. Most vendors will offer some integrations but examine the system closely to see if the solution has all the integration options you need. Consider your:
Pagers, beepers, or any other mobile devices carried by caregivers
iOS or Android devices
Any other internal systems that will enable your wander management system to work seamlessly within your facility
As you elevate options, opt for a solution that has custom configuration options, so you can ensure it meets your needs today and in the future. Installing a new system at your facility should simplify your process, not add complexity.
Fundamental to a wander management system are the tags residents wear that enable alerts when needed.
Look for the following when it comes to security tags/bands:
Where should the tags be located? Some systems require wrist placement, some require ankle placement, some allow either. Ask—it’s important to address this detail upfront.
How long do tags last? Warranty Date vs Shelf Life? Some vendors provide tags that last only a set period of time via a stamped expiration date, while others promote tags that may be used until there is a low battery indication, which can provide years of useful shelf life. Most tags are disposable once the battery runs out but not every tag on the market is promoted in this manner. Discuss with the service provider you are working with to understand the methodology for the specific product you are researching. Determine what makes the most sense and offers the best value for your community.
Can you turn tags on and off if needed? For tags that function until the battery expires, the ability to turn it off when not in use can have a dramatic impact on your operational budget expenses over the life of the system.
Is there a light or other indicator that the tag is functioning properly? Having the ability to see if a tag is working instantly or not can be a time-saving feature that benefits your caregivers on a daily basis and provides peace of mind.
How durable is the tag? Is the tag rated as water-resistant and shock-resistant?
What is the durability of the banding material and how is it removed?
There are several important considerations when it comes to the system's alarm(s). First, ask about interference. You don't want tags that will catch interference from other devices like cell phones or floor buffers, triggering false alarms. Additionally, if you have multiple floors or doors close together, ensure that the alarm can distinguish the correct location.
Another consideration is the types of alarms. Many vendors offer just one or two alarm types. This isn’t ideal, because non-wander alerts (low battery, tamper alert, etc.) can be confused for a wander or loiter alarm. Differentiating these alarms is crucial for ensuring proper response and avoiding false alarms.
Hardware & software
Ask potential vendors about the hardware and/or software associated with their wander management solution. Is there an option for a comprehensive system without the need for a computer? Conversely, is there an integrated software platform as a potential upgrade?
Discuss how the components of the systems will work within your facility. Where will there be remotes, LCD screens, alarms, etc.? What does it look like to manage the system day-to-day? Is there reporting easily available so you can see alarms with a date/time stamp?
With a vital system like wander management, quality technical support is a must. Ask what the implementation and training process is. Ensure you have local service and support if you need it. Most importantly, make sure you have 24/7/365 technical support available if needed. It's also important to ask about the long-term and annual services fees charged by most vendors.
Reasons to Choose Accutech Over Other Vendors
Accutech’s wander management solutions have many benefits. Here are several other reasons to choose Accutech over competing vendors.
Accutech provides healthcare security solutions at affordable prices. Cost-effective patient and resident security is important to Accutech Security because we believe all healthcare facilities should have access to a low-cost wander system.
Our ResidentGuard “wander wearable” is unobtrusive and takes into consideration the privacy seniors and other medical patients expect.
When choosing wander management for dementia or for kids in pediatric facilities, our wander management system can be integrated with our access control solution for a comprehensive security protection system that provides peace of mind for hospital staff and patients alike.
Wandering patients don’t all have the same needs, and you want a system that can integrate with security features you already have. Accutech’s products are designed with integration in mind.
Security mechanisms are more than just the electronic systems themselves—you also need reliable support that is there to meet your specific needs and concerns.
Our ResidentGuard wander management systems are created with flexibility in mind. You may need to add features later down the line as your facilities grow or change. Whether you need a stand-alone system for one nurse’s station or have a need for an integrated system that functions throughout multiple campuses, we can help get you up and running with flexible options and customer support you can count on.
WHAT TO ASK A VENDOR WHEN EVALUATING A WANDER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Do you offer just one wander management solution or multiple options based on budget and needs?
What customization options does your system offer?
This section compares the main vendors in this industry, for the main features discussed above.
Benefits of a Wander Management System for Facilities
Using the ResidentGuard wander management system in collaboration with staff members, current software integrations and procedures create the optimal environment to prevent wandering events. There are many things to consider when choosing the right wander management solutions to ensure the safety of your patients and sustain your company’s positive reputation.
A wander management system can benefit your hospital or facility in the following ways:
Reduce elopement incident response time - Once a wandering event has occurred, there is a small window of time to react and take action. At-risk residents at senior living, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities provide a unique challenge in providing a quick and timely way to protect them from harm and displacement.
Increase staff and family safety - Depending on the level of your current system’s integration, a wander management solution has the ability to sound alarms and lockdown specific doors to assist in elopement prevention. System features can include several different alarm types and direct access to nurse call stations.
Provide family satisfaction - Give your resident’s family members peace of mind knowing that your facility has an effective wander management system in place for a secure and protected living situation for their loved ones, while also allowing for resident independence throughout the facility.
While evaluating wander management systems for dementia, Alzheimer’s, and at-risk residents, verify that the solutions that are chosen reduce your facility's liability, protect your community - both staff and residents, and provide quick action in cases of wandering events.