Managing John’s wandering is complex, so a case conference involving his family is required. The issue is that the free bus service comes past the home giving him easy access into Adelaide city, which may increase the risks associated with his wandering. John is not a man to be confined, and when it is attempted, it frustrates him, and he, understandably, becomes angry.
The conundrum arises – duty of care versus liberty and freedom? As John’s cognition is poor, he is vulnerable and at risk. His brother, understanding the consequences, says "Let him walk", and the team at the home agrees. Confining John against his will is a bigger risk to his wellbeing than the risks of wandering.
Ultimately, there is some criticism of the home for letting John wander. For John’s safety, staff suggested installing a GPS tracking application on his phone so his whereabouts are known at all times. On a few occasions, a staff member drives into the city to bring him home. Some people praise the home for giving John the freedom he desires and needs. However, others disagree and criticise the home for allowing John to wander. Fortunately, for everyone concerned, he does not come to harm, and over time the problem resolves itself.
This is typical for behaviours related to dementia. As the person deteriorates, the behaviours may change or disappear. As John becomes more confused, he loses confidence and remains close to the home. The positive consequence of this is that the more he is around, the more he makes friends.