Advance directives in patients with Alzheimer's disease; Ethical and clinical considerations
- Cite this article as:
- Vollmann, J. Med Health Care Philos (2001) 4: 161. doi:10.1023/A:1011491100267
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Advance patient directives are various forms of anticipatory medical directives made by competent individuals for the eventuality of future incompetence. They are therefore appropriate instruments for competent patients in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease to document their self-determined will in the advanced stages of dementia. Theoretical objections have been expressed against the concept of advance patient directives (problems of authenticity and identity) which, however, cannot negate the fundamental moral authority of advance patient directives. Therefore, patients, family members, and physicians should make use of the appropriate form of advance directive as part of common treatment and care planning. Advance directives, when utilized intelligently, represent appropriate instruments for shared decision-making by patient, family members and physician. They should be utilized to a greater extent, particularly for the treatment planning of demented patients.