This study examined the attitudes of family and professional care-givers towards the use of advanced electronic tracking such as GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) for elderly people with dementia. The study revealed four principal findings. First, care-givers' views ranged from feeling obligated to use the tracking device for the sake of patients' safety through support of the use of the device for the sake of the care-givers' peace of mind and restricted support, to objection to the use of the device and respect for a person's autonomy. Second, family care-givers showed higher support for the use of GPS and RFID both for their own peace of mind and for the safety of the elder in their care. Professionals attached higher value to respect for a person's autonomy and restricted support for using GPS and RFID. Third, both family and professional care-givers agreed that the decision on tracking dementia patients should be an intra-family issue. Fourth, family care-givers attached more importance to the tracking device's characteristics and design, thus emphasizing that the tracking device must be considered by them as 'user-friendly'. The implications of the results for social work are also discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Support for this project was provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of German– Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP). We also wish to thank the Israeli Alzheimer’s Disease Society and Bayit Balev Maccabi Health Care Group for their help in recruiting participants for this research.