Should Patients With Alzheimer's Disease Be Told Their Diagnosis?
Drickamer, Margaret A.
Lachs, Mark S.
New England Journal of Medicine. 1992 Apr 2; 326(14): 947-951.
...Over the past two decades, a growing body of literature has addressed the issue of revealing the diagnosis to patients with cancer, but there are problems in applying the same rationale to patients with Alzheimer's disease. Many of the arguments that support telling the patient with cancer assume relative accuracy of diagnosis, an array of therapeutic options, a predictable natural history, and a fully competent patient. All these may be absent in the patient with probable Alzheimer's disease. Despite the belief of some experts that the diagnosis should routinely be disclosed to patients with dementing illnesses, this complex issue has not been addressed adequately. The purpose of this paper is to present opposing views on the subject. Although we support the concept of truth-telling, there are important caveats that should be considered. For the purpose of discussion, we focus on patients with Alzheimer's disease, but many of the considerations are equally applicable to patients with other progressive dementing illnesses....
Advance Directives; Aged; Attitudes; Autonomy; Cancer; Competence; Consent; Dementia; Diagnosis; Disclosure; Disease; Family Members; Human Experimentation; Legal Aspects; Literature; Paternalism; Patient Care; Patients; Personhood; Prognosis; Psychological Stress; Rights; Risks and Benefits; Third Party Consent; Truth Disclosure;
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