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2012: The ethical issues linked to restrictions of freedom of people with dementia

Ethical issues in practice

This report addresses the ethical issues surrounding the loss of freedom which many people experience as a result of having dementia. Such restrictions include those relating to residence or place of stay (i.e. involuntary detention or attendance in nursing homes, hospitals and day care centres), to the use of various forms of restraint (i.e. physical, chemical, psychological and environmental), to the right to live one's life according to one's values, preferences and lifestyle and finally, to the right to play an active role in society (e.g. marrying, voting, making a will and driving).

Most of these issues have already been explored by Alzheimer Europe insofar as they relate to legislation and clearly the right to live a life that is free from unjust, inappropriate or unnecessary restrictions is often both a legal and ethical issue. However, in this report, we focus on the ethical implications of various restrictions of freedom, drawing biomedical principles (e.g. respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice) as well as more care-related factors such as the importance of relationships, solidarity, wellbeing and dignity.



Last Updated: Monday 18 July 2016


  • Acknowledgements

    The above information was published in the 2012 Report "The ethical issues linked to restrictions of freedowm of people with dementia" as part of Alzheimer Europe's 2011 Work Plan which received funding from the European Union in the framework of the Health Programme. Alzheimer Europe gratefully acknowledges the support it has received frm Fondation Médéric Alzheimer Europe and the Alzheimer Europe Foundation for the development and publication of this report.
  • European Union
  • Fondation Médéric Alzheimer