Dementias pp 297-308 | Cite as

Ethical Problems in Caring for Demented Patients

  • G. J. Agich


Caring for patients suffering from dementia involves some of the most difficult ethical problems in adult medicine because of the nature of dementia and the way that dominant ethical principles apply to the clinical features of dementia. In this paper I first discuss the features of dementia that complicate the care of demented patients, including the nature of diagnostic and prognostic information; cognitive, communicative, and other deficits associated with the disorder; and the dependence on others that dementia induces in patients. Second, I discuss the problem posed for the ethics of caring for demented patients by the ideal of respect for patient autonomy that dominates contemporary bioethics, especially as this ideal is expressed in the rights to informed consent, self-determination, and decision-making.


Advance Directive Ethical Problem Dementia Patient Demented Patient Surrogate Decision Maker 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 1999

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  • G. J. Agich

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