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Session Description: Alzheimer’s disease confronts us with an ethical challenge: How do we live with dignity and quality of life in the face of progressive disability and, ultimately, death? Patients’ cognitive and decision-making impairments often make them unable to answer this question, and when professionals who provide care and services for older adults fail to recognize and accommodate these impairments, patients suffer. Patients and their caregivers need a health care system that fosters caregiving so that each will live with dignity and well-being. Why don’t we have such a system, and what do we need to do to achieve it? The answers to these questions engage a fascinating collection of historical and cultural events, ethical issues, and promising but challenging ideas and initiatives.
Jason Karlawish, MD is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Director of Penn’s Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program and Associate Director of the Penn Memory Center. His clinical practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. His research focuses on ethical, legal and social issues in research and care of older adults, and persons with late-life cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. His has investigated issues in dementia drug development, informed consent, quality of life, research and treatment decision making, biomarkers, and voting by persons with cognitive impairment and residents of long-term care facilities.
Describe how Alzheimer’s disease impacts on the quality of lives of patients and their family members
Discuss the historical and cultural events that have shaped the ways we do and do not care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease
Recognize how advances in the assessment of decision making capacity can improve conversations with patients and their family members
Identify changes in healthcare that promise to help us live with Alzheimer’s disease