Review on Wandering Behavior in Persons with Dementia

치매 노인의 배회행동에 관한 문헌 조사

  • Published : 2006.12.31


In Korea, about 8.3% over aged 65 are suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other type of dementia. Among dementia-related behaviors, wandering is the one of strongest factors on burden and stress of caregivers. On Lee and Kwon's report with community living persons with dementia, upto 85% of caregivers reported wandering as a problem. Wandering is a frequently encountered problem in communities and long-term care facilities, but it is among least understood dementia. related behavior. Despite the prevalence of wandering, its significant adverse outcomes, and the increase in persons with dementia in Korea, no systematic research has been conducted in Korea. The purpose of this study is to review on literature related to wandering behavior among persons with dementia. The specific topics related to wandering are included: definition, the prevalence of dementia and wandering behavior, the influencing factor on wandering, outcomes of wandering behavior, and the measurement method. Wandering is defined as "aimless walking" and "Meandering, aimless or repetitive locomotion that exposes one to harm and is incongruent with boundaries, limits, or obstacles". Wandering is viewed as a problematic behavior, however, it has to be understood as need-driven compromised behavior. For example, wandering may be an expression of searching for familiar person and/or place. Recently, in Korea, there is an effort for establishing the therapeutic environment for elders who are wanderers in long-term-care facilities. Cognitive impairment of persons with dementia is found to be a consistent factor on wandering behavior through many national and international studies. The adverse outcomes of wandering are serious problem in persons with dementia as well as their caregivers. The adverse outcomes include falls, fractures, getting lost, use of restraints, or even death. In fact, wandering is one of the major reasons for a patient to be institutionalized. For measurement of wandering behavior, two methods are broadly used: observation using stop watch, and survey form. A revised instrument of the Korean version of Algase wandering scale (K_RAWS) is established the psychometric properties (Son, Song, & Lim, 2006) demonstrating valid and reliable instrument in measuring wandering behavior among persons with dementia who are residing in communities. K_RAWS has a 39 items with six subscales including persistent walking, repetitive walking, spatial disorientation, eloping behavior, negative outcome, and mealtime impulsivity. In conclusion, studies including the prevalence of wandering behavior and predictive factors on wandering should be conducted to understand wandering clearly before developing any types of intervention.