Case Study of Ethical Considerations

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The Dilemma of Autonomy and Dementia

The subject in the case study being used is 74 years old and has dementia. In this situation, the nurse is in a difficult position because, as the patient's compassionate nurse, she must provide the patient with a complete understanding of her condition. This stems from the concept of autonomy, according to which the patient has the right to choose her own course of treatment. As a result, the nurse is required under the rules of professional conduct to fully disclose all information to the patient. However, due to dementia, it's likely that the patient lacks the mental capacity to make decisions affecting her health; hence the nurse should let the family members decide.

Understanding the Impact of Dementia

One of the questions that I would ask to gain a better understanding of the case is how much as the dementia affected Geraldine. It would also be helpful to know whether the patient is able to understand her condition at that particular time. The first question is important because the extent of the dementia will help me as a nurse to make an informed decision whether the patient is capable of making a decision or not. On the other hand, knowing the extent of the dementia at the time of the disclosure is important because it is vital to make sure that the patient is in a good condition when receiving the information. This would help her in making the correct information (Burston and Tuckett, 2013).

Nursing Code of Ethics and Stakeholders

The first provision of the nursing code of ethics applies in this case because the according to the provision, the nurse should practice with respect for the inherent dignity individual, worth and uniqueness for every individual. Hence, the nurse should consider the situation that Geraldine is facing and giver treat her with dignity, and therefore inform her of what is going on (McCarthy and Gastmans, 2015). The key stakeholders in this case include the carers of the patient, the real patient and the nurse. This is because the family members of the patient have a right to make certain decisions regarding their loved one, and the patient also has a right to make the best decision based on what she feels is best or her.

Empowering Geraldine Through Autonomy

In this case, Geraldine should be given the full information on the kind of condition she is facing and also be allowed to make the decision on what she feels is right for her. This is because she is still capable of making a decision despite her dementia condition, for it has not been reported to be lethal enough. This is in line with the principle of autonomy in the nursing profession.


Burston, A. S., & Tuckett, A. G. (2013). Moral distress in nursing: contributing factors, outcomes and interventions. Nursing Ethics, 20(3), 312-324.

McCarthy, J., & Gastmans, C. (2015). Moral distress: A review of the argument-based nursing ethics literature. Nursing Ethics, 22(1), 131-152.

March 23, 2023

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Case Study Dementia Nurse

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