Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Alzheimer's patients to be tracked in police trial

written by Rich

The gradual decline of a loved one through progressive dementia is obviously emotionally challenging and practically challenging. As an elderly individual becomes more and more reliant on being cared for, as a result of their eroding cognitive faculties, the risk to the individual increases. It is common for individuals with Alzheimer's disease to freely wander off from home, without be aware of the consequences of their condition. A short walk when alone can quickly become a scary and confusing environment for someone with AD, as you may forget what you were doing, where you are, and where home is.

Sussex police have provided 15 patients with wristbands that use GPS technology to track the individual in a bid to save police money and manpower required to find an AD patient that has lost their way.

Some individuals welcome the move as they are carers that often find themselves loosing a roaming loved one and enjoy the perks of an immediate text or email alert whenever the wristband wearer travels a certain distance from home. If it makes the carers life easier and increases the safety of the AD patient then is this a good idea?

Well, some people in the news today have reported that this idea is 'barbaric' as this is a cheap uncompassionate fix providing robotic care for the patients. 'Care' here I guess is not the right word according to some. Is care on the cheap bad? Is cheap care, uncaring? Arguably this is a crude form of tackling the issue by the police who plan to incorporate larger areas of greater London in the future.

Again back to the patient, the ideas here are commendable because the wristband has an emergency S.O.S button that a wearer can press if found to be in danger or injury. However the wristband is going to used by those patients most severly affected and therefore likely to remove the wristband as it is an unknown object about their person.

I feel that to react so emotively and to call this idea barbaric may be a but of a 'knee jerker' reaction because if the technology helps to protect the safety of those with AD that find themselves lost, and then also provide reassurance to their full-time carers who freely choose to use the technology, then great!