A Tuesday Tip subscriber recently emailed to ask us about installing window restrictor to prevent residents from eloping through a window:
“What is your opinion of using window restrictors in dementia units to prevent elopement through windows?”
There are several issues to consider before installing any device, bar, lock, etc. that prevents windows from opening completely:
1. Fire Safety
Nothing should ever be installed that could prevent egress during a fire without first obtaining appropriate fire clearance. Contact your local fire authority to obtain fire clearance before installing any type of restrictor.
2. State Regulations
Depending on the nature of the restrictor it could violate resident right to have access to outdoor areas or other regulatory issues. So check with your local licensing analyst before modifying your windows.
3. Staffing and Programming
There are certainly situations in which a window restrictor is necessary for safety, but they should never be used as a replacement for sufficient staffing and quality programming to minimize the incidence of elopement and other behavioral challenges.