Danish legislation on GPS and dementia

This article comes to us from Stella Care. Stella Care is a Danish company that solves social problems by using and further developing proven technology, so it can be used for purposes other than originally intended. They specialize in offering small GPS trackers suitable for people with dementia. The article by Stella Care is originally in Danish (you can access it by clicking on the title, below), and I have translated and edited the article into English. 

Legislation on GPS for people with dementia (and Stella Cares role)

The rules on the use of GPS for people with dementia was amended in 2010. The current law makes it easy to fit people with dementia with a GPS device. The person with dementia should directly protest against being tracked with a GPS.

It is our experience that very few people with dementia object to having a GPS tracker. We strive to deliver small GPS trackers, which can be easily worn under clothes, discreetly in a belt, or in the form of an armband.

At Stella Care, however, we do note that the legislation does not do it alone. There is a need for the GPS to be charged, that the person with dementia has it with them, and that staff know how the system is used.

Our system is very easy to use. Our goal is that everyone should be able to figure it out. This applies both that it is easy to get the person with dementia to go with the GPS tracker and that the app is so easy to use that anyone can figure it out.

Should there still be a need for help, Soren or Rasmus from Stella Care can be contacted around the clock. It gives peace of mind to know that there is always help available in a high-pressure situation – and that you don’t just get a call center.

What does the legislation say? Here is an excerpt from the Service Law:

Alarms and paging systems (GPS) (Social Services §125, paragraph. 1 and 2)

Leaving a person with dementia alone in the home poses a risk of injury for that person, the staff can decide to use a personal alarm or a sounding system (GPS) for the person with dementia as part of the daily care if the patient can no longer give consent nor protest against the measure.

In this situation, there is no question of force, and the measure does not need to be recorded and reported. If the person with dementia protests against the alarm or system, the staff can ask the municipality for permission to set up personal alarm or paging systems.

It must be proven that the person with dementia leaves the home and cannot take care of themselves, and the staff should have unsuccessfully tested various nursing and social educational measures to prevent the person with dementia from leaving their home before alarm and paging systems are considered.

A decision on the alarm and paging systems for citizens with dementia can be permanent. The initiative will be evaluated regularly.

Have you used a GPS system or known someone who has? I would love to hear your experiences and opinions in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Danish legislation on GPS and dementia

  1. Not sure about this idea. It sounds like it could be misused ,behaviours could be missed, and false securities developed on the behalf of the carer.

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    • Thanks for the comment, Natalie! There has been quite a bit of discussion around tracking – in general and also in dementia care. Research shows that people with dementia tend to agree with being tracked for their own safety – they generally see it as for their own benefit rather than as a huge invasion of privacy. One thing I like about the Danish legislation on this is that if the person says they don’t want it, this is respected. Further actions can be taken if it is felt it is necessary to have GPS, but it will only be approved if the care team can document they have tried several other approaches for keeping the person safe.

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