Neurology 2021 Jul;97(2):80-89
From the Department of Neurology (W.C.), University of California San Francisco; Evidence-Based Practice Center (A.Y.T.), ECRI, Plymouth Meeting, PA; Division of Neurology (A.Y.T.), Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Philadelphia; Department of Neurology (Z.S.), The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey; School of Law (R.J.B.), University of Virginia, Charlottesville; and Department of Neurology (J.A.R.), Lahey Medical Center, Burlington, MA.
Alzheimer disease and other dementias present unique practical challenges for patients, their families, clinicians, and health systems. These challenges reflect not only the growing public health effect of dementia in an aging global population, but also more specific ethical complexities including early loss of patients' capacity to make decisions regarding their own care, the stigma often associated with a dementia diagnosis, the difficulty of balancing concern for patients' welfare with respect for patients' remaining independence, and the effect on the physical, emotional, and financial well-being of family caregivers. Caring for patients with dementia requires respecting patient autonomy while acknowledging progressively diminishing decisional capacity and continuing to provide care in accordance with other core ethical principles (beneficence, justice, and nonmaleficence). Read More