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NonPharmacological interventions for managing wandering in the community: A narrative review of the evidence base

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Dementia‐related wandering is exhibited by as many as 63% of people with dementia living in the community. There is strong evidence that people with dementia who wander are at risk of life‐threatening outcomes including injury from falls, exhaustion, weight loss, and becoming lost. Furthermore, carers have reported that fear of a person with dementia becoming lost contributes to them taking extreme measures in an attempt to maintain safety at home and there are few guidelines to direct care practices. Previous literature reviews of interventions to manage wandering have been inconclusive as the quality of research resulted in most studies being excluded. This narrative review aimed to report on the current state of wandering intervention science for people with dementia cared for in the community. An extensive search of articles and grey literature published between January 1999 and November 2017 was conducted and included quantitative studies that reported findings of nonpharmacological interventions for people with dementia living in the community that reported outcome measures of wandering characteristics (e.g., frequent ambulation, pacing, and boundary transgression). Eleven papers met the inclusion criteria, the majority of which were small nonrandomised studies or case studies with interventions that focused on: engaging the person with dementia in an activity, improving safety with environmental modifications, and technology to improve navigation or to monitor movement. While the strength of the evidence was low, the review has identified some promising interventions that carers of people with dementia could trial to reduce risky aspects of wandering, as well as identifying potential directions for future research.
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Keywords: Community; Dementia; Intervention; Review; Wandering

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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