Ethical Decisions with Regards to Patients Suffering from Dementia
Whereas there is a strict code of ethics and guidelines that must be followed in regards to seeking to maintain patient understanding and acquiescence to treatment, this strict code of ethics must necessarily be bent and morphed in order to allow for different shareholders to make those decisions that would most represent the needs for the furthered well-being of the patient with a form of dementia. This is of course based upon individual need and the dynamics of age, overall health, and prognosis for whichever physical malady is concerned. As a means of understanding these determinants, the proceeding pages will deal briefly with the main ethical determinants that this author has noted as bearing the most importance. The first way in which this ethical consideration necessarily differs from that of the traditional approach is the fact that the patient is oftentimes not able to make informed and/or rational decisions based upon their own health. As a function of this, it is necessary for the healthcare provider to extend all of the ethical considerations towards the caretakers of the patient in question. This is oftentimes a very difficult proposition due to the fact that many times the caregivers of the individuals with dementia do not have medical power of attorney or other legal powers that allow them to make the decisions required. A secondary ethical determinant that must be considered is the level of trust that is engendered with the patient and the family. ...
o engage a level of trust directly with the patient, it is necessary to split this level of trust between the patient and the caretakers of the patient, regardless of the legal rights that they may have to take care of and make decisions for the patient. All too often the healthcare provider is tempted to ignore the needs of building trust with the patient as a function of their disease; however, such an approach is not warranted due to the fact that so many different stages of dementia are known to exist and within many of these stages it is fully possible for the individual to understand and make a level of key decisions for much longer than might be expected. Similarly, another ethical concern that the healthcare provider must integrate with is the level of support that is received with each and every case that is dealt with. As a function of this, it is oftentimes necessary for the provider to seek to reach out to other professionals in order to find the most effective means that the patient can be treated and/or interacted with. This of course represents yet another layer of ethical concerns due to the fact that the sharing of key information between professionals must be engaged (Bolmsjo et al, 2006). A final ethical consideration is concentric around the degree of care that must be administered. Although it is a firm temptation for the healthcare professional to use such an externality to determine the total level of healthcare which will be provided, this far exceeds the scope of responsibility that any provider can assume. As such, the final ethical consideration is for the healthcare provider to ensure that they are not the constraining force in the provision of healthcare to the patient. Moreover, they must also safeguard the level of understanding and