Using GPS with dementia patients effective

Jan. 30, 2013 at 12:38 AM

TRONDHEIM, Norway, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- GPS helps achieve an increased sense of security, freedom and quality of life for those with dementia and family, researchers in Norway suggest.

Dag Ausen of SINTEF and manager of the Norwegian research project Trygge Spor said the study involved more than 50 dementia sufferers, who used a Global Positioning System for several weeks or up to a year.

Five municipalities worked together with researchers to benefit the nursing and home care services.

"Our aim has been to develop GPS systems with component sensors and support systems as a means of monitoring the movements of dementia sufferers," Ausen said in a statement. "It's a major step forward to record that these 50 users can now demonstrate the effects and benefits over time."

The study was based on observations of sufferers living at home, in institutions, and in other forms of shared accommodation facilities.

"We observed the use of alarm and localization technologies were the least intrusive interventions, allowing those with dementia increased levels of freedom, mobility and independence. They do not experience these types of intervention as being forced on them," said Klara Borgen of Trondheim municipality.

"Our experience is that this approach demands a great deal of evaluation and follow-up in terms of establishing a service structure. It shows that we also provide next of kin with a degree of security in the early stages of the illness, and that this helps them remain longer in their jobs and better cope with their day-to-day situation."

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