Easing the pain of dementia

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has published a report on the ethical issues raised by dementia care.  It says that expert social support which could take much pain out of dealing with dementia should be more accessible to patients and their carers.  Such help is often  unavailable until a crisis point was reached but access to holistic expert services in the earliest stages of the disease could make a real difference. Patients should not be written off, but involved in decisions about their care as much as possible, the report said.

The report recommends that:

  • Services should be made available from an early stage
  • Families should be treated as ‘partners in care’ by professionals, helping to build trust
  • Introduction of ‘risk-benefit assessments’ to determine how best to protect patients without unnecessarily damaging their quality of life
  • Highlight legal duties of service providers – such as shops and restaurants – to ensure people with dementia can use their services
  • Abolition of the fee for people to register as welfare attorneys, who can make decisions on someone else’s behalf about medical treatment
  • More guidance on how dementia patients can be actively involved in their care
  • More funding for dementia research

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Read report…