Wander-walking and people with dementia
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Wandering (or wander-walking) in people with dementia is a phenomenon that is poorly understood. Consequently, it is challenging for practitioners to implement evidence-based practice. Interventions to respond to the person who is wandering tend to be initiated after inaccurate or incomplete assessment and are not always appropriate for the wandering that is being lived out. The good news is that some of the evidence base on wandering is now reasonably developed, considering how recently wandering has been the focus of research, and can be used to guide assessment and interventions across a range of care settings. Additionally, knowledge about assistive technology (AT) in regards to wandering is an area opening up for further research. At the current time, little is known about the best way to assess for AT, or the application of and outcomes from AT in the case of people with dementia who wander or wander-walk. This chapter aims to provide an overview of wandering: what it is, how it can be assessed and the possible application of assistive technologies as one set of interventions in a therapeutic response to wandering. We will also consider people with learning disabilities and dementia. The chapter will make it clear that the debate that lies at the heart of making use of assistive technologies is essentially an ethical one and some of what we believe are the central ethical issues will be discussed later in the chapter.