The Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have jointly hosted a series of three policy seminars focusing on the Council’s 2009 report Dementia: ethical issues. The seminars, which took place in Westminster throughout March 2011, engaged researchers and policy-makers in the field of dementia, and sought to highlight areas of crossover between bioethics, the humanities, and policy-making in the context of dementia. The three seminars focused on separate ethics ‘concepts’ associated with dementia which were highlighted by the Council’s report – namely autonomy, personhood, and solidarity – and were chaired respectively by Baroness Murphy, Professor Alistair Burns, and Baroness Perry. Each seminar included presentations from both academics and policy-makers, and encouraged discussion and debate with invited guests who represented dementia care, research and policy. Points raised during the discussion included:
- Because a person with dementia is a person, they must be encouraged to make decisions and their views and values should be acknowledged.
- More could be done by those in policy-making roles to enable people with dementia to make autonomous decisions.
- A person with dementia’s sense of self and self-expression is grounded in their social and family relationships, and policy development should reflect this.
- Informal care can only work if there is sufficient professional care to partner the efforts of the informal carer.
- Community development needs to be addressed in order to overcome the exclusion of people with dementia from their communities.
- Dementia needs to be recognised as an area requiring multidisciplinary research.
Meeting notesNotes outlining the discussion which took place at each of the three seminars are available to download: 9 March 2011 “No man is an island” - promoting autonomy and improving decision-making for people with dementia (PDF 147KB) 23 March 2011 “I am still the same person” - promoting respect and ethical care for people with dementia (PDF 146KB) 31 March 2011 “We’re all in this together” - the impact of Big Society on the care of people with dementia (PDF 156KB) Find out more about the Council's work on dementia