Walking the ethical line

Categories: Latest News.

A wide-ranging article about telecare monitoring in Axcess News (“News for the X generation”) has an example of an older couple and their daughter – who also visits her parents every day – talking approvingly of a level of video surveillance which seems to this editor (Steve) to step over the line of what’s acceptable when you consider that less intrusive technologies can achieve the same level of reassurance without requiring the people being monitored to adapt their lives around it. It will be interesting to know whether readers think it is acceptable for someone monitoring by video to offer an unsolicited comment on whether something is cooked enough… Innovation in senior care: ‘Telecaregivers’ help more seniors age at home.

[Ed. Donna’s notes on Ed. Steve’s post above. Original article published in the Christian Science Monitor, author Husna Haq. Content might sound familiar to our readers as much of this article resembles different parts of a four-part series on NPR [TA 24 Aug] by Jennifer Ludden which also profiled the same family using ResCare, New Millenial Homes (of Tampa Bay, Florida), Adaptive Home and the MIT AgeLab. What is new is the MIT AgeLab’s Aware Car and a different quote from psychologist on aging Nancy Schlossberg.  Any conclusions you’d like to draw on ‘ethical lines’ are your own!  (And the paucity of comments on the CSM is startling, considering the subject matter.)]

Comments

  1. Yes, timely post. Questions abound when considering monitoring devices in the home.

    I believe the area of Information Ethics is about to get hot. There is a burgeoning number of devices becoming available for wireless sensor networks, personal area networks, adhoc wireless networks, and personal area networks. These devices will be within reach (technically and commercially) of average users. They will be inexpensive and ubiqutous. These will not be tools that are only be available to institutions, agencies, and government organizations. Individuals will have access to these devices.

    What happens when individuals realize they can monitor the staff at institutions and facilities, and as you say, without cameras? They can create or buy a system and place it in the patient’s room. I predict some people will be very grumpy about that and probably with good reason. But then, why shouldn’t family be allowed to be present, even if only virtually, to assure a loved one is being adequately cared for?

    That’s only one of many upcoming debates. Grab your popcorn and pull up a seat. This is going to get good. Democracy (small d) is about to land on health care and long term care is first up.

  2. Steve Hards, Editor

    Readers who would be interested to explore Mark’s views on the trend that many families will come to see that the care and safety of their loved one includes monitoring the activities of people around their loved one, including professional caregivers can read more on his blog [url]http://crackerbelly.me/[/url].