As part of the norwegian research project "Trygge Spor", more than fifty dementia sufferers have been using GPS for periods varying from several weeks to up to a year. The results show that localisation technology helps achieve an increased sense of security, freedom and quality of life, both for sufferers and their next of kin.
"As part of Trygge Spor we have taken the first steps on the road to putting words into action by documenting the results on a research basis", says Project Manager Dag Ausen, SINTEF.
"Our aim has been to develop GPS systems with component sensors and support systems as a means of monitoring the movements of dementia sufferers," he says. "It's a major step forward to record that these fifty users can now demonstrate the effects and benefits over time. In the main, headlines about welfare technology are all about "sales drives" and "pie-in-the-sky" projects with no relation to real life", says Ausen.
User involvement research
Dementia sufferers represent major users of municipal care services. For those with dementia, years of serious functional impairment are experienced at the end of their lives, and it is at this time that the disease claims most resources from the municipal nursing and care services.
This is why five municipalities have been working together with researchers to come up with new knowledge to benefit the nursing and care services.
Drammen, Bærum, Trondheim, Bjugn and Åfjord municipalities assisted user involvement research in order to find the answers to questions such as; can GPS be used as a tool in the care of dementia sufferers?; what effects will such use have?; how will such use impact on health service structures?; Several commercial companies have also been involved. They have supplied their existing products as a basis for research work and have taken part in the
development of new systems.