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Ethical Considerations for Integrating Technology

MARTIN, SUZANNE BSC, DIP OT; CUNNINGHAM, COLM MSC, DIP SW RGN, RMNH; NUGENT, CHRIS PHD

doi: 10.1097/01.ALCAT.0000281873.66023.7e
WELL-BEING AND BEING SAFE: FINDING A BALANCE
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Emerging technologies provide the opportunity to develop innovative sustainable service models that are capable of supporting adults with dementia at home. Devices range from simple stand-alone components that can generate a responsive alarm call to complex interoperable systems. From these complex systems, the paradigm of the ubiquitous or ambient smart home has emerged, integrating technology, environmental design, and traditional care provision. The service context is often complex, involving a variety of stakeholders and a range of interested agencies. Against this backdrop, as anecdotal evidence and government policies spawn further innovation, it is critical that due consideration is given to the potential ethical ramifications at an individual, organizational, and societal level. Well-grounded ethical thinking and proactive ethical responses to this innovation is required. Explicit policy and practice should, therefore, emerge which engenders confidence in existing supported living option schemes for adults with dementia, and informs further innovation.

Suzanne Martin, BSC, DIP OT, is Lecturer of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.

Address correspondence to: Suzanne Martin, BSc, Dip OT, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Shore Road, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, Northern Ireland. E-mail: s.martin@ulster.ac.uk.

Chris Nugent, PhD, is a reader in Computer Science, School of Computing and Mathematics, Faculty of Engineering, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Northern Ireland. His research interests include Medical Decision Support Systems, technologies for Smart Homes, Internet-based healthcare, and wearable systems.

Colm Cunningham, MSc, Dip SW RGN, RMNH, is Director of Operations at The Dementia Service Development Centre in Northern Ireland. Colm's current research includes pain in people with dementia and night care in care homes.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.