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Ethical Reasons to Involve Demented Patients in Their Care and Why Physicians Fail to Do So

Chamberlain, Colby L (2007) Ethical Reasons to Involve Demented Patients in Their Care and Why Physicians Fail to Do So. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This paper explores the syndrome of dementia and the way in which it affects a person's capacity to make a medical decision. The symptoms of dementia exist along a continuum, meaning that a patient will begin with a mild form of dementia and then progress to a more severe form of this syndrome. This paper argues that although demented patients generally do not have the capacity to make medical decisions, some demented patients, because of the continuum nature of the syndrome, can participate in the planning of their care and, in some cases, participate in the informed consent process. It maintains that the principles of respect for autonomy and dignity, beneficence, and justice provide ethical reasons for involving demented patients in the care when they are capable to do so. Moreover, this paper contends that ageism, sexism, and hypercognitivism are biases that likely affect the way in which physicians view their demented patients, and consequently, the intersectionality of these three biases may play a role in a physician's disregard for an elderly demented patient's involvement in the planning of their care. Finally, the way in which physicians' interpret the idea of "involvement" provides further reasons to explain why physicians sometimes exclude demented patients in participating in decisionmaking. This paper concludes by providing some suggestions for positively involving demented patients in care planning.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Chamberlain, Colby Lclc135@pitt.eduCLC135
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairParker, Lisa Slisap@pitt.eduLISAP
Committee MemberBarnard, Davidbarnard@pitt.eduBARNARD
Committee MemberChaitin,
Date: 19 September 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 23 July 2007
Approval Date: 19 September 2007
Submission Date: 31 July 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Bioethics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ageism; decisional capacity; dementia; hypercognitivism; intersectionality; sexism
Other ID:, etd-07312007-165037
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:55
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:47


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