What exactly is a secure dementia care unit? Restraints?

Hello. My mum and I had a tour of a nursing home yesterday. I was told my mum’s hospital notes indicate that she is a wanderer and the nursing home feels that she belongs in a secure dementia care unit, which are very expensive - $4,900,000.
What exactly is the difference between a secure dementia ward and a general ward room? Are the doors locked - and if so, when are they locked - all day & night? What happens if a person needs a dementia care unit but can’t afford one? Where would they go? How would they be restrained or kept from wandering? Or are they sedated? I really just want the facts on how this works. Thanks.

Thank you for your replies. Yes, I did mean $490,000. There seems to be fewer secured dementia rooms compared to general rooms so I’d imagine there’s a lot of competion for the lower priced rooms. I’m currently visiting as many as I can.

Hi Loren,
Most of the secure units have a pin code to keep the residents in the unit safe and that is in force 24 hours a day. Not everyone with a diagnosis of dementia needs to be cared for in a dementia specific unit. Many with early dementia ca n be cared for in the general wings and then progress into the dementia unit if/when their condition is such that the dementia unit is more appropriate. It will depend on your mother’s behaviours as to whether she ca n be adequately cared for in the general wing. You should expect that the care staff in the secure unit are well trained in working with residents with dementia and that would be a question that I would definitely ask the manager of the aged care home. With regards to restraints - both physical and chemical - as a result of the Aged Care Royal Commission there have been changes around regulations for this with the aim of reducing the use of restraints. There is supposed to be more emphasis on dementia specific activities eg musty rooms and environmental design to support cognitively impaired residents. Being in a secure dementia unit would provide a much safer and supportive environment for your mother’s wandering behaviour. I would recommend that you make an appointment with the manager of the home to have your questions and concerns addressed. Ask what training the care staff have had with dementia residents and what dementia specific activities are provided. Organise a tour of the dementia unit where you can speak with the staff etc if you havent already done so.

All the best,

In most cases there will be doors locked by pin code access keeping dementia patients in their ward/wing of the facility. The nicer homes might also have a garden or courtyard area attached to the dementia ward that is fully fenced, to prev"escape". Did you accidently put an extra “0” on that RAD figure? I’m guessing it is $490,000Once your mum has been approved for residential aged care (via an ACAT assessment) and her income/assets assessment has been completed you’ll know your options and cost implications. Depending on her asset level part or all of her accommodation cost may be subsidised by the Gov