Ethical issues in caring for patients with dementia
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Ethical issues in caring for patients with dementia

Julian Hughes Consultant in old age psychiatry, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Psychiatry of Old Age Service, North Tyneside General Hospital, North Shields, Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre, Newcastle University, England
Jill Common Ward manager, Psychiatry of Old Age Service, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, North Tyneside General Hospital, North Shields, England

This article discusses issues that might count as ‘ethical’ in the care of people with dementia and some of the dilemmas that occur. Ethical theories, such as virtue ethics, deontology and consequentialism are discussed, and ethical approaches that can be useful are outlined. Thinking about matters case-by-case is another approach, one that forms the first component of the Nuffield Council’s ethical framework for dementia care, which is described. Case examples are provided, raising issues of autonomy, diagnosis, restraint and withholding treatment. The notion of personhood and the need to understand the person with dementia as broadly as possible are emphasised. Recommendations for nursing practice are included.

Nursing Standard. 29, 49,42-47. doi: 10.7748/ns.29.49.42.e9206

Correspondence

julian.hughes@ncl.ac.uk

Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 18 August 2014

Accepted: 21 October 2014