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m-carer: Privacy-aware monitoring for people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia

Description: Age-related diseases are becoming more prominent due to life expectancy increase in developed countries. Mild cog- nitive impairment and several types of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease are gaining importance both socially and economically. Patients suffering from these diseases have different degrees of autonomy and, thus, different needs. Often, relatives or friends take care of those patients. However, during the first stages of the disease, they still have a high degree of autonomy and frown on the supervision of others. Despite their autonomy, patients could get lost and disoriented. Rapidly determining the location of a lost patient is paramount to reduce the risk of suffering serious injuries. Current solutions to this problem are based on the continuous monitoring of the patient. Such continuous control might be seen by most people as a privacy invasion, and it may discourage patients from using these solutions. In this article we present the concept of m-Carer as a smart mobile device able to privately monitor the movements of patients having diverse degrees of mobility and autonomy. After justifying the need for privacy-aware m-carers due to social and economical reasons, we propose a complete architecture aimed at fulfilling the needs of patients, relatives and healthcare services. Moreover, we show a real implementation of our proposal so as to confirm that it is technically sound and feasible.

Publication date: 2013/8/23
Editor: IEEE
Abstract:
Age-related diseases are becoming more prominent due to life expectancy increase in developed countries. Mild cog- nitive impairment and several types of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease are gaining importance both socially and economically. Patients suffering from these diseases have different degrees of autonomy and, thus, different needs. Often, relatives or friends take care of those patients. However, during the first stages of the disease, they still have a high degree of autonomy and frown on the supervision of others. Despite their autonomy, patients could get lost and disoriented. Rapidly determining the location of a lost patient is paramount to reduce the risk of suffering serious injuries. Current solutions to this problem are based on the continuous monitoring of the patient. Such continuous control might be seen by most people as a privacy invasion, and it may discourage patients from using these solutions. In this article we present the concept of m-Carer as a smart mobile device able to privately monitor the movements of patients having diverse degrees of mobility and autonomy. After justifying the need for privacy-aware m-carers due to social and economical reasons, we propose a complete architecture aimed at fulfilling the needs of patients, relatives and healthcare services. Moreover, we show a real implementation of our proposal so as to confirm that it is technically sound and feasible.

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