Many people have expressed concerns about the ethical issues surrounding a service such as St Bernard. We have spent a lot of time talking to organisations and individuals about these issues and have structured the Service to reflect these discussions.
Firstly what is the St Bernard Location Service?
It is NOT Tagging or Tracking, it IS Emergency Location.
It is designed to be used when there is concern about the safety of a service user or when location information may be useful for risk assessment.
The Service is designed to maximise privacy by using secure networks, restricting access at different levels of administration, restricting location information on a “need to know” basis and logging all access for audit purposes.
As with many ethical issues a key element is obtaining informed consent.
There are three concepts to explain
- If you get lost or worried when you are out, you can press the button and I will be told where you are so I can help. Is that OK?
- Sometimes I may be worried about you if you don’t come home when I am expecting you. Are you happy that I can find out where you are if this happens?
- We have talked about going too far from home because you feel lost and get worried. Are you happy if I’m told when you go too far? No one will be following you so you can go where you like as long as it’s not too far away.
Organisations will have their own procedures for obtaining consent or using an advocate and these questions can be used as a guideline.