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Q:

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A few years ago the UK was in talks about tagging Dementia patients with GPS like tracking devices, in case they were to wander off in a fit of confusion. Some argued that this was a necessary procedure and was for the safety of the patients and peace of mind of the families. Others argued that implanting the chip would lower the quality of healthcare given to those patients who had Dementia.

Seeing as how Dementia hasn't gone anywhere in the last couple years and the chips aren't implanted yet, share some feelings on the topic...

E.M. Wollof from SLN asked this
August 10, 2011 at 11:47 AM

A:

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I think the need for more/alternative care depends on the situation and should be evaluated on a case by case basis. I'm sure there are situations where such an idea would work, but there could be creative alternatives to implants.

One such case I recall hearing about on WNYC's RadioLab podcast involved patients at a care facility that would frequently be found on public transportation after leaving the facility. To stop this from becoming a problem, the facility built a fake bus stop directly in front of the building. Escaping residents would wait there safely for a non-existent bus, and instead of staff looking citywide for them, they'd need only look out a window. Eventually, a staff member would simply go out and join the resident, talk for a bit, and invite him or her back inside for tea or coffee.

While it must be scary to think about a relative with dementia getting lost that easily, it can often be better to look at all parts of the issue instead of stopping on the most intrusive, high-tech option.

Big Dave from SLN answered
August 10, 2011 at 11:53 AM

I personally do not think that this is a good idea. Having a parent with dementia i will hate to have a chip implanted in her like she was some kind of robot or animal. I really don't think she will like that either. Deep down they can still see what is going on somedays are better than other, they just can't respond to it. You want to be able to keep her dignity.

Diana from SLN answered
August 11, 2011 at 1:19 PM

I don't like the idea of a chip implanted in a person either. I think that the care provider would get lazy and not pay as much attention to the individual because of it.

Julie answered
August 17, 2011 at 10:13 AM
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