The experience of lying in dementia care: A qualitative study

Nursing Ethics 19 (1):7-20 (2012)
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Abstract

This analysis examines the practice of care providers in residential aged care lying to residents with dementia. Qualitative data were collected through multiple methods. Data here represents perceptions from registered and enrolled nurses, personal care assistants, and allied health professionals from five residential aged care facilities located in Queensland, Australia. Care providers in residential aged care facilities lie to residents with dementia. Lying is conceptualized as therapeutic whereby the care provider’s intent is to eliminate harm and also control behaviour. Care providers of residents with dementia in RACFs need guidance around lying. An ethical framework cognisant of an ethical theory of good and ethical theory of right supplemented by a theory of virtue is proposed. A complimentary four stage communication strategy that promotes truth telling as a first option while also recommending the lie as a suitable strategy is also promoted

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