chapter  1
16 Pages

Ethical Issues in Dementia

ByJason H. T. Karlawish

Ethics is about choice, especially choice under uncertainty. It describes deciding what is the right

thing to do. Ethics involves weighing rights and wrongs. The standard medical model of ethics is

largely grounded in applying four principles to make choices: respect for autonomy (allowing a

patient to direct his care), nonmaleficence (doing no harm to the patient), beneficence (maximizing

the patient’s welfare), and justice (treating equal patients equally) (1). An ethical decision refers to a

choice that has these principles in proper balance.