The Nuffield Council on Bioethics today launched a consultation on the ethical dilemmas that are faced by people with dementia and those who care for them, including families, carers, and health and social care professionals. “Issues about access to medication have recently hit the headlines, but there are other important questions that urgently need to be addressed to help people with dementia and their families live their lives,” said Professor Tony Hope, chair of the Council’s Working Party on dementia. “We want to hear people’s views on these questions to help us develop some guidance and advice for families, carers and professionals.” The Council would like people to consider a range of questions, including:
- How can carers, families and doctors weigh up what treatment and care a person would have wanted before they developed dementia, and what they appear to want now?
- Are ‘living wills’ an effective way of making decisions about treatment and care before the capacity to make a decision is lost?
- Is it ever right to restrain a person with dementia, for example, to reduce the risks of wandering?
- It is ever right to deceive a person with dementia, for example, by disguising medication in food?
- Should people with dementia be involved in research if they are no longer able to choose for themselves whether or not to participate?