Norway’s government suggests permitting healthcare staff to equip those in need of care and suffering from dementia with a GPS.
In Health Minister Jonas Gahr Støre’s proposed change to legislation, the actual person would not be required to give their consent.
Medical personnel who are familiar with the individual would also make a decision based on whether he/she would derive positive benefit from carrying the locating device.
The Minister tells paper Aftenposten this legislative change, if approved, would require extremely qualified and wise medical staff to make the decision to make it work.
Personal privacy and legal rights, two strong cornerstones in Norwegian society, would also have to be properly ensured, according to him.
“The alternative is often locked doors and that the patient’s freedom of movement being limited. The patient will have greater freedom with a GPS,” declared Minister Støre.
“Nevertheless, I emphasise that this is purely a supplement to the nursing and care the healthcare service currently provides,” he added.
In a concurrently published article on research website forskning.no, scientists say both patients and their families gain increased benefit from GPS transmitters when it comes to safety, freedom, and quality of life.
“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,” comments Trondheim municipality’s Klara Borgen.
Some 50 people participated in the joint five-municipality and multi-company research project, wearing the equipment for from some weeks to up to a year.
At the other end of the age-scale and over the border, a school in Sweden caused a string of calls from Norwegian journalists in 2011, after staff reportedly equipped children with GPS devices.