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2015: Ethical dilemmas faced by professionals providing dementia care in care homes and hospitals

We hope that you have found this publication helpful and enjoyed working through the different vignettes, perhaps also sharing your thoughts and feelings about them with your colleagues and peers.

We have emphasised throughout the importance of taking into account the lived experiences of people involved in dementia care practices, of interpretive dialogue, of respecting the values and wishes of the person with dementia, insofar as this is possible, and of taking personal responsibility for addressing situations and issues which are ethically sensitive and thus threaten the provision of person-centred care to people with dementia. This does not mean resolving single-handedly every ethically sensitive situation or dilemma you encounter but rather reflecting on ethical issues linked to the provision of dementia care in nursing home and hospital settings, addressing issues that are within your power to address, seeking the involvement of others when this is not the case, challenging unethical care practices and sharing the insight you have gained with others.  Moreover, ethical reflection is a central part of providing good dementia care and should be promoted through ongoing professional training. 

In the introduction to this publication, we described our aim as being to provide materials which would enable you to reflect on a range of ethically challenging situations, empower you to tackle any ethical dilemma you might encounter and enable you to reflect on the approach you adopt and, if you feel the need, to justify that approach to yourself anyone who might ask.


As a last activity, we would like you to go back to the two vignettes in the introduction (the one about Mrs Grey and the one about the two sisters) and have a look at the notes you made (for Activity 1). In the light of what you have read, your reflection and your possible interaction with others, consider what your responses might be now… perhaps a little different, perhaps not.  In any case, we hope you will now:

  • find it easier to reflect on ethically challenging situations and ethical dilemmas,
  • feel empowered to tackle situations/dilemmas similar to those described in this publication,
  • feel able to reflect on different ethical approaches to tackling such dilemmas and
  • feel able to justify your approach to yourself and (if you see fit) to others.



Last Updated: Thursday 26 November 2015