The Pros and Cons of Electronically Monitoring the Wandering Dementia Patient

June 26, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Dueling pieces in the June 20, 2013, issue of BMJ debate whether patients with dementia who wander should be electronically tagged. The first author, in favor of tagging, states that while global positioning system (GPS) trackers will not completely solve the problem of dangerous wandering by dementia patients, it will enable caregivers to find them quickly, which is important because half of all dementia patients who are missing for more than 24 hours die or become seriously injured. The author recommends GPS trackers specifically for the dementia patients who get lost repeatedly, which is about 5% of dementia patients.

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