Study Finds U.S. Guidelines Often Fail to Address Ethics Issues Regarding Dementia Care
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
by: VNAA Policy Team

Section: Public Policy and Advocacy

Research released by a German research team in the medical journal PLOS Medicine found that multiple national clinical practice guidelines for dementia care often fail to address important ethical issues. Researchers analyzed the national dementia care guidelines of 12 nations, including the United States. Out of 31 ethical issues identified by the research team, the U.S. national guidelines addressed, on average, fewer than half.

Out of all the guidelines studied, including those developed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 11 of 12 countries guidelines do not address the following ethical issues:

  • Tube feeding;
  • Covert medication (e.g. balancing short-term medical benefits vs. long-term impact on patient–physician relationship);
  • Usage of GPS and other monitoring techniques; and
  • Caring for clinical personnel and professional caregivers (e.g. needs of professionals; preventing distress and burn out).
  • Adequate consideration of existing advance directives in medical decision making
The United Kingdom as a whole ranked highest, addressing 91 percent of ethical issues examined. The United States scored highest with regard to recommendations on how to handle ethical issues, at 71 percent.

Click here to access the complete study.
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