Wayward Alzheimer's patients foiled by fake bus stop
By Harry de Quetteville in Berlin
Last Updated: 2:52PM BST 03/06/2008
A German nursing home has come up with a novel idea to stop Alzheimer's patients from wandering off: a phantom bus stop.
The bus stop, in front of the Benrath Senior Centre in the western city of Düsseldorf, is an exact replica of a standard stop, with one small difference: buses never stop there.
The idea emerged after the centre was forced to rely on police to retrieve patients who wanted to return to their homes and families but had forgotten that in many cases neither existed any longer.
"If we can’t find them then we have to alert the police,” said Benrath's director Richard Neureither. “It can be particularly dangerous if this happens in winter and they spend the night out in the cold.”
Without powers to detain patients, he said, Benrath had been forced to look for other solutions.
“We cannot and must not run after people and lock them up,” said Mr Neureither.
Instead, Benrath home teamed up with local care association called the 'Old Lions'. They went to the Rheinbahn transport network which was happy to provide the bus stop to nowhere.