Roaming With Dignity: How WanderGuard Bracelets Preserve Patient Safety and Autonomy

WanderGuard Blue Bracelets are wristband alert systems that have a proven track record in taking care of patients who suffer from dementia, cognitive impairments and patients with a mental health concerns. These are a wearable technology made by Stanley Healthcare that allow healthcare facilities such as our own to safeguard at-risk patients. The WanderGuard is used to keep track of patients and having it provides an additional layer of security that allows sensors on doors to alarm if patients leave through them. The use of WanderGuard bracelets and technology to ensure the safety of patients at Victoria Hospital was made a reality thanks to the generosity of our donors.

The bracelets operate using Wi-Fi and provide staff with confidence that their patients are well taken care of. While they are small in size, they offer big protection and are comfortable, durable and easy to manage. Each WanderGuard bracelet has a unique electronic serial number, so that each patient can be personally identified in the system. These roam alert bracelets can trigger alarms and can lock monitored doors to prevent the patient leaving unattended. Although it is simple, this technology keeps patients safe from many untoward events because it adds an extra layer of supervision in addition to the care they receive from staff. Due to the nature of their illness, many patients get the urge to leave the building and move to areas where their care may be compromised.

Ray Sanchez, Executive Director of Programs and Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Victoria Hospital shared that “We do have a more elderly population and this technology helps better serve them in many ways. We can provide better care, safer care, overall inclusive care and more autonomy. It’s a win-win across the board.” 

Expansion To Urgent Care - Putting Alerts Where Our Community Needs Them Most 

At Victoria Hospital, WanderGuard technology has been used throughout the site for many years on inpatient units and has shown proven benefits, making it an easy choice for expansion with its impressive track record. With an investment from the Foundation of over $42,000, Victoria Hospital was able to upgrade the technology into the Urgent Care department. As Urgent Care is located on the main floor and has multiple points of exit, it provides a significant risk for patients with dementia or patients who don't have the wherewithal to be aware of their surroundings. The bracelets were introduced to Urgent Care in April 2022, decreasing the risk of patients leaving who are at risk of elopement by being installed at all exit points within Urgent Care.

Urgent Care is often busy, and while the doors coming in are locked and carded, the exits are not. The WanderGuard system serves as an alert to staff if someone at risk has left the department and allows staff to respond quickly and help return them to safety. This system also decreases the incidents of code yellows, the code for missing patients. 

This technology was increasingly necessary in Urgent Care as it decreases the likelihood of at-risk patients leaving, while decreasing the isolation that may be experienced while in their rooms. Sanchez added, “It allows us to give patients more freedom and autonomy, who may otherwise get overwhelmed by having someone watch them all the time, and roam the department. It makes it easier for staff to be optimal in their care.” He added that, “The value added is in each individual patient,” as the WanderGuards are now used regularly throughout the high traffic Urgent Care department. This technology allows them to safely wander more freely within the department and promotes mental health and wellbeing for patients during their stay in Urgent Care. 

In addition, healthcare workers try their best to make this technology as comfortable as possible for patients so that they feel dignified in the process. The bracelets also improve resources and efficiencies to ensure staff can focus on patient care as it decreases the number of constant care staff required to sit with patients who wander. 

WanderGuard Bracelet

Putting Loved Ones At Ease - What This Technology Means For Caregivers 

Giving patients the freedom to wander safely with the WanderGuard comes with many additional benefits including lowered incidents of falls, agitation and aggression. Sanchez explained, “When we restrict patients from roaming, it can cause isolation which increases their potential to deteriorate significantly.” 

Patients and their loved ones greatly appreciate this technology, as it provides their loved ones with an added layer of supervision and their safety is ensured while maintaining their autonomy. The Foundation’s investment in WanderGuard upgrades supports innovation and promotes excellence in patient care at the hospital and within Urgent Care. Victoria Hospital has a strong culture of safety, and this technology contributes to the overall safety of patients and staff. Other safety measures that are in place besides the WanderGuard include but are not limited to: strategically positioned staff, hourly rounding, call bell systems in beds, and bed and chair checks.

“We have a lot of experience with this technology,” said Sanchez. “We know it works and we know it contributes to better overall patient care. We strive to provide the best care we can here at the hospital. This becomes another tool to help us in our mission to support the care of our patients and our community.” 

Your generous donations mean that caregivers and loved ones can take a breath of ease, knowing that their loved ones are safe at Victoria Hospital. Your gifts allow us to incorporate the highest level of technology in our patient care and help us advance healthcare for those we serve, every single day. By providing the funds for resources like the WanderGuard bracelets, you are helping make even the shortest hospital stay more comfortable. You are helping create a heartwarming impact in the lives of those who need it most and reducing the safety risk for patients. Your ongoing support is vital for us to be able to continue making enhancements in our community.