Attitudes and expectations of technologies to manage high risk wandering and elopement in persons with dementia : an Australian perspective

Beattie, Elizabeth, McCrow, Judy, & Kearns, William (2009) Attitudes and expectations of technologies to manage high risk wandering and elopement in persons with dementia : an Australian perspective. Gerontologist, 49(S2), p. 93.

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Wandering is aimless and repetitive locomotion that may expose persons with dementia (PWD) to elopement, getting lost and death. This study is an Australian replication of a US study. Cross-disciplinary consensus- based analysis was applied to data from five focus groups (N =47: cognitively intact LTC residents (5), carers of PWD (11), home care workers (13) allied health professionals and health-focused engineers (7) and RNs (11). Groups received briefing about wandering monitoring and elopement management systems. Consistent with US attitudes, participants in all groups agreed on what a wandering technology should do, how it should do it, and necessary technical specifications. Within each group participants raised the need for a continuum of care for PWD and the imperative for early recognition of potentially dangerous wandering and getting lost when they occur. Global Positioning System elopement management was the preferred option. Interestingly, the prospective value of GPS to recover a lost or eloped wanderer far outweighed privacy concerns, as in the US. A pervasive theme was that technologies need to augment, but cannot replace, attentive, compassionate caregiver presence. A significant theme raised only by Australian carers of PWD was the potential for development of implantable GPS technologies and the need for public debate about attendant ethical issues. Given that 60% or more of over 200,000 Australians and 4.5 million Americans with dementia will develop wandering, there is a pressing need to develop effective locator systems that may delay institutionalization, help allay carer concern and enhance PWD safety.

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ID Code: 55980
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Articles free to read on journal website after 12 months
Keywords: dementia, wandering, technology
DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnp147
ISSN: 1758-5341
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Oxford University Press
Deposited On: 20 Dec 2012 23:43
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2015 00:52

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