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Parent’s of Children ‘At Risk’

Why you need Safe Return Home

Children and young adults with memory problems or disorientation can have problems that can leave them vulnerable as they move about within the community (case studies ). These problems are not restricted to one age group or even to a single disability or medical condition.  If you have a loved one with complex medical, social and or psychological needs then the Safe Return Home system is designed to assist you.

This multilayered system has been designed to assist you in safely and securely storing information that could not only assist in the identification of a loved one should they become lost or disorientated in public, but also to list their medical and psychological needs. There is also the facility for you to list those personal details that make all the difference in helping a person feel comfortable and non-threatened when in a crisis situation and being helped by others.

The Safe Return Home system will:

  1. Provide access to vital information to assist with the location of children and adults who become lost or disorientated in the community. As information is stored on the system, it is available immediately and removes the stress of collecting this data at the time of an emergency. The information is ready to be provided or accessed (by special arrangement with local police stations) by Police and other emergency services, and support services (eg. transport services such as bus and train; taxi) and media.

  2. Also benefit those with medical conditions where important data on medications and allergies needs to be available 24-hours a day in case of an emergency. The Safe Return Home database can ‘store’ all the relevant information which can be accessed by the person or their proxy (as registered) at any location with an internet connection. They can also provide access to medical personnel or nursing staff (eg. school camps, respite care) as required (see case study).

  3. Provide the option for a Medical ID Product that contains information of relevance in a medical emergency. The bracelet has an ID that can be linked to the person’s record in the Safe Return Home database.

1. Potential ‘at risk’ Children and Adolescents because of ‘Wandering’ Behaviour

Some children and young adults have problems that can leave them vulnerable as they move about within the community (eg. people with an intellectual disability).  These include:

People who experience difficulties with daily living activities in areas that include:

  • expressing and understanding language.
  • ability to acquire the skills necessary to recognise familiar surroundings.
  • ability to acquire or use the skills necessary to travel independently in the community.

Young children, who are inquisitive about their surroundings, but lack the skills to understand the dangers of slipping away from their carer to explore their environment. This type of behaviour has been noted by the parents of young children with Down syndrome and has been termed ‘elopement’.   

The Safe Return Home system provides photo ID and other information to assist Police and others locate a person with a disability who has become disoriented and lost in the community.

Wandering can occur at any time and from a variety of settings including:

  • the residential home
  • daily activity groups
  • residential care institutions
  • shopping centres
  • recreational outings

For the parents of children with an intellectual disability, the dilemma is how to encourage independence, creative exploration and enjoyment of the surroundings, while at the same time preventing the child from wandering off and becoming lost.  It is frequently not possible to determine what triggers the behaviour or when it will occur.

To the family and carer,wandering behaviour can significantly add to their list of daily responsibilities and stress levels.  Many carers feel they have to severely restrict the independence of their loved in order to reduce the risk of a missing episode.   The Safe Return Home system provides additional re-assurance for parents that all details will be available immediately to the Police in case of a missing person episode.

2.Children and Adolescents with Medical Conditions

Parents of children and adolescents with medical conditions want their child to lead a normal life. However, they may also feel concerned that their child may be too sick or embarrassed to provide all the information required for the appropriate medical assistance to be given, should the need arise. As well, parents cannot always be present when the information on the child’s condition is needed. In these cases the child can carry information that allows medical and other health professionals to access their database records on the Safe Return Home website (all access to the system is tracked and audited). 

Children and adolescents with a health condition or medical need may benefit from the Safe Return Home system.  These conditions include:

  • asthma
  • arthritis
  • allergies
  • epilepsy and seizures
  • juvenile diabetes

Basic information available for all individuals on database:

  • Colour photograph
  • Detailed description of person
  • Contact details of carer and other listed contact persons

    Depending on the carer’s wishes, further details may also be available including:

  • Medical conditions and diagnostic Information
  • Dementia diagnosis
  • Psychiatric diagnosis
  • Developmental disability
  • Critical medications that patient requires
  • Contact details of treating doctors
  • Activity of Daily Living Restrictions
  • Memory
  • Orientation
  • Outside Home Functioning
  • Relevant Life History
  • Previous Places of Residency
  • Home address during early adulthood
  • Previous Workplace Address
  • If missing, likely destination
  • Behavioural Information
  • Behaviours of concern
  • Carer suggested management approaches
  • Name to address person by
  • Suggested topics for discussion when find person 

Case Studies

Case Studies are examples of real life situations.  The dilemmas and concerns faced by the carers and ‘at risk’ people in these and other case studies have been taken into consideration during the design phases of the ‘Safe Return Home’ system. A primary goal of the system is to significantly improve the outcome of cases like these and to reduce carer stress.