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Brendan’s secret exit

July 8, 2013
by Kathleen Mears
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Brendan (pseudonym) is in his 60s and can be a character, particularly when he wears his Elvis wig to breakfast. Although he is usually quiet, some days he becomes quite animated and talks away in a voice too low to be heard. Because Brendan knows karate, the aides are careful when he is agitated and heads for the door.

Most days Brendan does not cause problems. His usual routine is to go to meals and then back to his room to nap.

However, last Wednesday he followed his nurse around all day. She said being followed did not bother her until Brendan tried to go with her into the bathroom. She asked him to wait outside. When she came out, he continued to follow her around until the end of her shift. The nurse thought something was going on with Brendan; but she had no idea what.

The next morning as I sat in the dining room, there was a hush. The aides were looking at each other with concern in their faces. It seems they looked everywhere inside and could not find Brendan.

He was last seen in bed at 7:00 a.m. Assuming Brendan got outside, an aide jumped in her vehicle and drove around the neighborhood. She found him a few blocks away near a fast-food restaurant.

Brendan was fine and rode back with her. She asked how he got out without activating the alarm, but he would not say. The aides asked if he went out front door while residents were boarding the bus to the DD [developmental disability] workshop. He replied, "I would not have gone out that way because you would have seen me."

One aide thought Brendan got the wanderlust after going on a lunch outing with activities. Some staff supposed he had exited through the laundry room door, which sometimes is left slightly ajar. Once he was through that door there is an unlocked door to the outside.

Brendan was checked every 15 minutes for the rest of the day. The aides and nurses realize they have to keep a watchful eye on him because only he knows how he got out.

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Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...