4B: Decision-Making with Dementia: Capacity, Choice & Advocacy

Valerie J. Richards, MBA, Alzheimer's Educator and Family Coach

Mild cognitive impairment, progressive dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affect an individual’s ability to function and make decisions. Is it appropriate for people with these conditions to make their own care decisions? How do we determine the extent of diminished capacity and whether someone can give informed consent? Can advance care planning and end-of-life conversations make a difference in outcomes for the individual and their loved ones?

This session will provide information about symptoms and changes to help you identify those struggling with cognitive impairment, determine decision-making abilities in individuals with a dementia diagnosis, facilitate shared decision-making when appropriate, and encourage advocacy for the individual’s end-of-life preferences. Real-life case examples will be discussed to share positive approaches to conversations with those with dementia and their families to improve the end-of-life experience for everyone.

By the end of the session, learners will be able to:

  • Discuss how and when to facilitate decisions and offer choices to those with cognitive impairment and dementia
  • State ethical standards of practice regarding informed consent, capacity and advocacy through end-of-life
  • Suggest approaches to difficult conversations with a person with dementia and their caregivers/family to encourage advocacy and positive end-of-life experiences