Alistair R Niemeijer

VU University Medical Center, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (8)15.26 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Surveillance technology such as tag and tracking systems and video surveillance could increase the freedom of movement and consequently autonomy of clients in long-term residential care settings, but is also perceived as an intrusion on autonomy including privacy.
    Nursing ethics. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Background The demand for (care) services for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) is on the rise, because of an expanding population of people with ID as resources are concurrently diminishing. As a result, service providers are increasingly turning to technology as a potential answer to this problem. However, the use and application of surveillance technology (ST) in the care for people with ID provokes conflicting reactions among ethicists and healthcare professionals, and no ethical consensus has been reached as of yet. The aim of this study was thus to provide an overview of how ST is viewed by (care) professionals and ethicists working in the field by investigating what the ideal application of ST in the residential care for people with ID might entail. Methods Use was made of the concept mapping method as developed by Trochim; a computer-assisted procedure consisting of five subsequent steps: brainstorming, prioritising, clustering, processing by the computer and finally analysis. Various participants (ranging from ethicists, physicians to support workers) were invited on the basis of their intended (professional) background. Prior to this study, the views of care professionals on the (ideal) application of ST in the residential care of people with dementia have been consulted and analysed using concept mapping. A comparison between the two studies has been made. Results Results show that the generated views represent six categories, varying from it being beneficial to the client; reducing restraints and it being based on a clear vision to (the need for) staff to be equipped; user friendliness and attending to the client. The results are presented in the form of a graphic chart. Both studies have produced very similar results, but there are some differences, as there appears to be more fear for ST among care professionals in the care for people with ID and views are expressed from a more developmental perspective rather than a person-centred perspective with regard to people with dementia. Conclusions When it comes to views on using technology both in dementia care and the care for people with ID, there appears to be an inherent duality, often rooted in the moral conflict between safety versus freedom or autonomy. What is more, elaboration on abstract concepts often presumed to be self-evident, whether ethical or not, has proven to be difficult. How ST is viewed and apprehended is not so much dependent of the care setting and care needs, but rather whether it is clear to everyone affected by ST, what one wants to achieve with ST.
    Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 03/2013; 57(3):201-15. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Working with surveillance technology as an alternative to traditional restraints creates obvious differences in the way care is organised. It is not clear whether professional caregivers find working with surveillance technology useful and workable and whether surveillance technology is indeed used to diminish restraint use. The aim of this study was to obtain an insight into the view of Dutch dementia care professionals on the feasibility of surveillance technology as an alternative to physical restraints. Qualitative study. The study was carried out in seven nursing homes for people with dementia in The Netherlands. Semi-structured interviews were held with nine key persons from seven nursing homes for people with dementia. Also, six focus group discussions were held with groups of nurses and two focus group discussions were held with multidisciplinary teams. The dementia care professionals named three different ways in which surveillance technology can be used: to provide safety in general, to provide additional safety, and to provide more freedom for the residents. In addition to this, the dementia care professionals mentioned four limitations in the use of surveillance technology: it is unable to prevent falling, it cannot guarantee quick help, it does not always work properly, and it could violate privacy. Dementia care professionals consider surveillance technology supplemental to physical restraints, rather than as an alternative. Improvement of devices and education of care professionals might increase the support for using surveillance technology as an alternative to physical restraints.
    International journal of nursing studies 09/2011; 49(2):212-9. · 1.91 Impact Factor
  • Sandra A Zwijsen, Alistair R Niemeijer, Cees M P M Hertogh
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    ABSTRACT: This article provides an overview of the international literature on the most important ethical considerations in the field of assistive technology (AT) in the care for community-dwelling elderly people, focused on dementia. A systematic literature review was performed. A total of 46 papers met the inclusion criteria. Three main themes were found. The first theme, personal living environment, involves the subthemes privacy, autonomy and obtrusiveness. The second theme, the outside world, involves the subthemes stigma and human contact. The third theme, the design of AT devices, involves the subthemes individual approach, affordability and safety. The often referred to umbrella term of 'obtrusiveness' is frequently used by many authors in the discussion, while a clear description of the concept is mostly absent. When it comes to AT use in the care for elderly people living at home, ethical debate appears not to be a priority. The little discussion there relies heavily on thick concepts such as autonomy and obtrusiveness which seem to complicate the debate rather than clarify it, because they contain many underlying ambiguous concepts and assumptions. Most encountered ethical objections originate from the view that people are, or should be, independent and self-determinant. It is questionable whether the view is correct and helpful in the debate on AT use in the care for (frail) elderly people. Other ethical approaches that view people as social and reciprocal might be more applicable and shed a different light on the ethical aspects of AT use.
    Aging and Mental Health 05/2011; 15(4):419-27. · 1.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As our society is ageing, nursing homes are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with an expanding population of patients with dementia and a decreasing workforce. A potential answer to this problem might lie in the use of technology. However, the use and application of surveillance technology in dementia care has led to considerable ethical debate among healthcare professionals and ethicists, with no clear consensus to date. To explore how surveillance technology is viewed by care professionals and ethicists working in the field, by investigating the ideal application of surveillance technology in the residential care of people with dementia. Use was made of the concept mapping method, a computer-assisted procedure consisting of five steps: brainstorming, prioritizing, clustering, processing by the computer and analysis. Various participants (ranging from ethicists to physicians and nurses) were invited on the basis of their professional background. The views generated are grouped into six categories ranging from the need for a right balance between freedom and security, to be beneficial and tailored to the resident, and clearly defined procedures to competent and caring personnel, active monitoring and clear normative guidance. The results are presented in the form of a graphic chart. There appears to be an inherent duality in the views on using surveillance technology which is rooted in the moral conflict between safety and freedom. Elaboration of this ethical issue has proved to be very difficult.
    Journal of medical ethics 02/2011; 37(5):303-10. · 1.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACTIntroduction: Although in most developed countries the use of restraints is regulated and restricted by law, the concept of restraint in nursing home care remains ambiguous. This study aims to explore how care professionals and family members of nursing home residents with dementia in the Netherlands experience and define the concept of restraint.Methods: Individual interviews were held with relatives (n = 7) and key persons (n = 9) in seven nursing homes. We also conducted eight focus group discussions with nursing home staff. In addition, a structured questionnaire was administered to the nurses of participating nursing homes.Results: In the questionnaire, over 80% of the respondents indicated considering “fixation” (e.g. use of belts) as a restraint and 50 to 70% of the respondents regarded other physical interventions, such as geriatric chairs and bedrails, as restraints. The interviews and focus group discussions show that the residents' perception of the intervention, the staff's intention behind the intervention and concerns of privacy are the criteria used by the respondents in defining an intervention as a restraint.Conclusions: When trying to diminish restraint use, it is important to be aware of the “local logic” of care practice and to take into account the fact that, for staff and relatives, an intervention is only regarded as a restraint when it is bothering a resident or when an intervention is used for the sole purpose of restricting freedom and/or when interventions invade the privacy of a resident.
    International Psychogeriatrics 01/2011; · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Technology has emerged as a potential solution to alleviate some of the pressures on an already overburdened care system, thereby meeting the growing needs of an expanding population of seriously cognitively impaired people. However, questions arise as to what extent technologies are already being used in residential care and how ethically and practically acceptable this use would be. A systematic literature review was conducted to explore what is known on the moral and practical acceptability of surveillance technologies in residential care for people with dementia or intellectual disabilities, and to set forth the state of the debate. A total of 79 papers met the inclusion criteria. The findings show that application and use of surveillance technologies in residential care for vulnerable people generates considerable ethical debate. This ethical debate centers not so much around the effects of technology, but rather around the moral acceptability of those effects, especially when a conflict arises between the interests of the institution and the interests of the resident. However, the majority of articles lack in depth analysis. Furthermore, there are notable cultural differences between the European literature and American literature whereby in Britain there seems to be more ethical debate than in America. Overall however, there is little attention for the resident perspective. No ethical consensus has yet been reached, underlining the need for clear(er) policies. More research is thus recommended to determine ethical and practical viability of surveillance technologies whereby research should be specifically focused on the resident perspective.
    International Psychogeriatrics 03/2010; 22(7):1129-42. · 2.19 Impact Factor
  • Alistair Niemeijer, Cees Hertogh
    The American Journal of Bioethics 09/2008; 8(8):50-2. · 4.00 Impact Factor