Assistive Technologies for People with Dementia: Ethical Considerations

Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Forthcoming

Posted: 23 Oct 2017

See all articles by Belinda Bennett

Belinda Bennett

Queensland University of Technology

Fiona McDonald

Associate Lecturer

Elizabeth Beattie

Queensland University of Technology

Terry Carney AO

The University of Sydney Law School

Ben White

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Lindy Willmott

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 22, 2017

Abstract

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 include a new target for global health: SDG 3 aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” Dementia care of good quality is particularly important given the projected increase in the number of people living with the condition. A range of assistive technologies have been proposed to support dementia care. However, the World Health Organization estimated in 2017 that only one in 10 of the 1 billion or more people globally who could benefit from these technologies in some way actually has access to them. For people living with dementia, there has been little analysis of whether assistive technologies will support their human rights in ways that are consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The aim of this paper is to examine the relevant provisions of the convention and consider their implications for the use of assistive technologies in dementia care. Assistive technologies can clearly play an important role in supporting social engagement, decision-making and advance planning by people living with dementia. However, concerns exist that some of these technologies also have the potential to restrict freedom of movement and intrude into privacy. In conclusion, an analysis of the implications of assistive technologies for human rights laws is needed to ensure that technologies are used in ways that support human rights and help meet the health-related SDG 3.

Keywords: Health law, Medical law, Dementia, Assistive technology, Human rights

Suggested Citation

Bennett, Belinda and McDonald, Fiona and Beattie, Elizabeth and Carney AO, Terry and White, Ben and Willmott, Lindy, Assistive Technologies for People with Dementia: Ethical Considerations (October 22, 2017). Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3056910

Belinda Bennett

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

Fiona McDonald

Associate Lecturer ( email )

Australia
61 7 31382010 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.qut.edu.au/staff/lsstaff/fmcdonald.jsp

Elizabeth Beattie

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Terry Carney AO

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Ben White

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/whiteb/

Lindy Willmott (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/willmott/

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