Norway ponders tags for dementia sufferers

Snus spat erupts in NorwayNorwegian lawmakers are toying with the idea of allowing healthcare workers to equip dementia patients with electronic tracking devices.

The proposal came via health minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who told reporters from the Aftenposten news agency that the scheme would require proper implementation in order to be successful and to ensure the rights of participants are preserved.

Under the proposal, health workers – not patients – would be given the authority to determine who would benefit from the GPS devices; the scheme would not require patients’ consent. However, Støre said that the measure could provide “freedom” for dementia sufferers while still honouring their privacy.

He added, “The alternative is often locked doors and that the patient’s freedom of movement [is] limited. The patient will have greater freedom with a GPS. Nevertheless, I emphasise that this is purely a supplement to the nursing and care the healthcare service currently provides,” the reports.

The news follows the release of a new report in which Norwegian researchers said that by providing dementia sufferers with tracking units, both patients and their families could enjoy a better quality of life.

Researcher Klara Borgen said on behalf of the Trondheim municipality organisation, “We see that the use of early warning and detection technology is often the least intrusive measure. It gives users greater freedom, mobility and independence, and it is not perceived as duress.”

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