Social workers' and students' attitudes toward electronic tracking of people with Alzheimer's disease

Shirli Werner*, Ruth Landau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have recently been employed to helpmonitor persons with dementia. While the advantages of such technologies are clear, making use of them raises a number of ethical dilemmas. Considering the fact that social workers may be called upon to assist families in making decisions regarding the use of GPS, their attitudes on this issue are important. Fifty-five social workers and 61 social work students completed a questionnaire including: Attitudes toward tracking, knowledge of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) symptoms, familiarity with persons who have AD, and ratings of who should be involved in the decisionmaking process regarding GPS use. Findings showed that the highest-scored attitude factor was respecting elders' autonomy, while the lowest-scored factor opposed GPS use. The elderly and their spouses were rated as important decision-makers regarding the use of GPS. Knowledge of AD and respecting autonomy were negatively correlated. Students gave a higher rating to respecting elders' autonomy than the social workers. Social workers gave a higher rating to the importance of a multidisciplinary team. Implications for social work education are discussed including recommendations for person-centered AD care on the one hand, and the need to balance the interests of the individual and the family on the other.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)541-557
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this project was provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the German--Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP).


  • Attitudes
  • Electronic Tracking Systems
  • Global Positioning Systems
  • Social Work Education
  • Social Work Students
  • Social Workers


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