Ethical Issues in Dementia Care: Making Difficult Decisions

Ethical Issues in Dementia Care: Making Difficult Decisions

Ethical Issues in Dementia Care: Making Difficult Decisions

Ethical Issues in Dementia Care: Making Difficult Decisions

Synopsis

There are always difficult day-to-day decisions to be faced when caring for a person with dementia ? from knowing how to deal with wandering to end of life decisions. Many of these decisions are underpinned by value judgments about right and wrong and reflect a particular view of dementia. This book considers these ethical decisions in the context of relationships, treatment, safety and quality of life, offering practical guidance and advice. It draws on the experiences of family carers as well as on existing research and emphasizes the importance of empathy and the need to acknowledge different perspectives in order to reach the best decision for the person with dementia. In particular the authors discuss the way that decision makers are themselves changed by the decisions they make, and the impact of this on the decision-making process. This book should be read by all those who work caring for people with dementia.

Excerpt

The aim of this book is to help carers of people with dementia. In the main we are thinking of non-family, formal carers, but the book draws in large measure from research with family carers and our hope is that it may be of interest to all those who work, live and care for people with dementia. We hope it will help carers not only to recognize the ethical issues involved in caring for people with dementia, to understand how to deal with difficult (ethical) decisions and to gain some confidence in making such decisions, but also to be aware of the need to involve other people appropriately when the decisions are too difficult.

The aim is not to teach carers how to be experts in medical ethics. However, we are keen to encourage the idea that all carers, inasmuch as they become expert at dealing with difficult decisions in relation to dementia, gain expertise in ethical matters. Being more reflective about this would, we hope, improve decisions made with or for people with dementia. In other words, our approach is underpinned by the thought that much ordinary care involves an ethical component, even if it is not recognized as such. Our hope is that increased reflection on the ways in which ordinary care is given should enhance that care, whether or not the reflection is regarded as 'ethical'. Ethics is all about treating people with dementia well.

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