Dementia, beauty, and play: A way of seeing and being with the wearisome patient

Clinical Ethics 17 (1):87-89 (2022)
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We describe a case of an elderly patient suffering from advanced dementia whose chronic confusion has become a source of frustration for her caregivers. Mrs. M experiences a touching interaction with a new nurse who takes a different approach with her. We describe this interaction and elaborate upon it by drawing from Catholic social teaching and the philosophy of play. Cases like these do not involve dramatic or esoteric ethical problematics, but rather the sort of dilemma born of the everyday tragedies of lingering illness, aging and caretakers’ fatigue. Nathan’s approach offers a different way of seeing and being with the wearisome patient.



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Abram Brummett
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

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