Robots and surveillance in health care of the elderly – ethical aspects

The development of robots for use in care is moving at a rapid pace. For demographic reasons there is political intererst in streamlining health and social care that concern the elderly. There are various types of robots that can be considered for use in health and medical care, and social care. Examples include communication with an individual, as an eating aid, for training and rehabilitation, as a substitute for missing limbs or mobility assistance, as a companionship or to avoid heavy lifting by health care staff.

Regarding the use of monitoring in health and medical care, and social services, camera monitoring can serve as an alternative or a complement to physical supervision of an individual. The report discusses monitoring with cameras and GPS transmitters.

Ethical problems regarding health robots and monitoring in the care of elderly are presented and discussed in the report. The ethical issues concern aspects such as the quality of health care, human needs such as social stimulation, personal integrity, the right to self-determination etc.

You can read a Summary (pdf 174 KB) of the report here.