15 persons with dementia passed away in 2014 after having left their house or nursing home. The number for 2015 is not yet known, but hopefully it is lower.
Our mission at Stella Care is that no one disappears and especially that no one passes away. We know that the relatives, and often the caregivers as well, are frightened and worried when a person with dementia goes missing. We will do what we can to avoid that situation. It is particularly tragic when someone loses his or her life. Especially if this could have been avoided by providing the person with a GPS tracker.
Fortunately, we have several possibilities for reaching our objective:
We have developed a system which is very easy to use. It is also safe because you can see on the app at all times whether the system is functioning and whether everything is alright. Among other things, you can check the battery life of the GPS tracker. We are constantly developing and improving our system, focussing on user-friendliness and safety.
At Stella Care, we have learnt that, besides political focus and will, the important thing is the attitude towards the use of GPS trackers in each municipality and at every nursing centre.
It is our experience that professionals at the care centres wish to secure people suffering from dementia using GPS tracking, but the necessary resources are not always available.
We can encourage the municipalities to pay for GPS trackers for the clients who needs these. We still see municipalities that hesitate or refuse to pay for GPS trackers for people with dementia. Fortunately, more and more municipalities realize that it is not only a matter of finances, but also one of safety and, in the worst cases, of life or death. At Stella Care, we believe it must be the responsibility of the municipality or the nursing centre to secure their clients suffering from dementia. Some leave the task to the police. It is not fair to any of the parts involved and, moreover, it is the most expensive solution for society.
We have an excellent collaboration with a large number of municipalities. Accordingly, we can see that prioritizing the whereabouts of people with dementia pays off.
It is not our experience that people with dementia remove their GPS tracker. If the municipality shows political will and goes wholeheartedly into supplying people suffering from dementia with GPS trackers, it will work. However, it is crucial that the policies of the municipality are implemented at each of the nursing centres.
It is, however, self-evident that a lack of resources for training of personnel yields a less satisfying result. The gravest consequences are incidents like the one in North Jutland in December.
If you have any suggestions or ideas for spreading the use of GPS tracking and making all municipalities realize that this is a municipal duty, we would love to hear from you.