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Consider and evaluate the ethical principles and values at stake in relation to the individuals involved (including yourself) and the specific situation

2014: Ethical dilemmas faced by carers and people with dementia

Familiarise yourself with some of the key ethical principles and values (see Box 1). Some people consider some principles and values as being more important than others. Our view is that this might vary between people and across different circumstances. It is therefore important to know and understand the people affected by a particular ethical dilemma.

If the person with dementia is unable to express what is important, try to find this out from people who know the individual well. A statement of values can also be very helpful. This is a document which can take any form but generally includes information about what is meaningful and important to someone in life, their likes and dislikes, values, guiding principles and beliefs.

As there may be several people affected by a particular issue, it is possible that people will have different priorities. Therefore, we need to consider the views of all involved. Certain issues, such as vulnerability and dignity, might not immediately occur to people but may threaten their future wellbeing if not addressed. Sometimes there will be “an elephant in the room” and it may take courage to draw attention to an issue that everyone is choosing to ignore.



Last Updated: Monday 08 February 2016