Naturwissenschaftliche, rechtliche und ethische Aspekte

Ethics in the Life Sciences – DRZE Expert Reports, Volume 23
Sebastian Knell / Dietmar Thal / Volker Lipp

Commissioned by the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences
Edited by Dieter Sturma and Dirk Lanzerath

Dementia comprises a cluster of symptoms primarily characterised by an impairment of cognitive abilities caused by an acquired organic brain damage. This cluster pertains to persons of all ages and can have diverse causes. The progressive decline of persons’ cognitive abilities incrementally affects their life plans, memory, perception, and emotional states, as well as their ability to communicate, spatio-temporal orientation, and scopes for action.

Dementia brings about significant changes in a wide range of areas for the persons who are affected as well as for their social environment. Interacting with persons affected by dementia therefore involves normative challenges. The impairment of cognitive abilities impacts, for example, self-determination, the ability to consent, and the power of judgment. A limited ability to communicate creates uncertainties in determining the wishes, intentions, and attitudes of persons affected by dementia. This also raises questions regarding legal capacity, medical care, and pertinent instruments for adult guardianship law. To avoid instrumentalization and interact with persons affected by dementia in an ethically responsible way, a consideration of their particular vulnerabilities is required.

This expert report informs about the medical basis of dementia’s complex cluster of symptoms, outlines pertinent legal norms and regulations, and discusses ethical problems focussing on the normative aspects of personhood, self-determination, the good life, and dignity.

SB 23
© Verlag Karl Alber

DOI10.5771/9783495999370   open access

ISBN: 978-3-495-49244-4 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-3-495-99937-0 (e-book)

Publisher: Verlag Karl Alber, Baden-Baden

Year of publication: 2022

Pages: 181

Languages: German

Price: 29,- € (paperback)

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