Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, care homes have been required to implement new IPC measures along with social distancing and isolation measures to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus.

These measures result in the restriction of movement for residents living in care homes which means there will be a change to their daily care routines and practices. This is likely to be particularly stressful and unsettling for people living with dementia who ‘walk with purpose’.

What is walking with purpose?

Walking with purpose is likely to be an expression of an unmet need and the persons efforts to communicate, meet or respond to that needs. People living with dementia is care homes who walk with purpose may struggle to follow IPC measures and may find it difficulty to understand why they are required to remain in their room.

Common reasons for walking with purpose are:

  • Looking for someone or something
  • Attempting to relieve pain or discomfort
  • Feeling lost and trying to find the way
  • Fulfilling a previous occupational role or family commitment
  • Getting hungry, thirsty, or needing to go to the toilet
  • Feeling lonely or stressed
  • Feeling bored
  • Walking is part of their everyday routine
  • They enjoy being physically active