Dementia Patients ' Denied Rights

1622 WordsMar 15, 20177 Pages
Dementia Patients’ Denied Rights: Voluntarily Stopping Eating And Drinking Adrienne Heasty County College of Morris The healthcare system places emphasis on involving patients in their plan care throughout the disease or healing process. Nurses and other members of the healthcare team are responsible to ensure that the competent patient has the right to refuse any medical treatment. Patients can have an active voice in their treatment throughout their disease process by clearly stating their treatment requests in an advanced directive. Patients who file advanced directives are warranting their current wishes are met in the event that they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. However, an advanced directive (AD)…show more content…
Although Sheri carefully articulated her wishes for end of life care, she ended up in a circumstance all too common for people with dementia. There is a limbo for dementia patients; where their decision making for end of life care “typically lies between the last opportunity to act decisively and the time when dementia’s severity is deemed to make death preferable.” (Menzel and Chandler-Cramer 2014, p.25) The nursing home staff argues that Sheri’s “then-self” may have had different wishes than her “now-self” and there is no clear way for Sheri to currently communicate her current demands. Therefore, the death Sheri requested was denied and she will live out the full course of her dementia in a nursing home. Sheri is not alone in her fight to hasten death. There are many stories similar to hers. One in particular is the case of another person with dementia named Judge Robert Hammerman. (Pope 2011) Hammerman defined a life of living with dementia as "breathing, not really living." (Pope 2011, p. 374) He described his battle with dementia and highlighted the limitations he faced daily. Losing his memory, having a harder time completing simple tasks, and the possibly of needing to be institutionalized all contributed to his decision of taking his own life, without medical assistance. He did not have the same end of life options as other illnesses, such as cancer, and committed suicide. Perhaps if Hammerman was able to ensure
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