What do you do when a dementia patient refuses care?
The golden rule of all types of care, including specialist dementia care, is that the individual is treated with dignity and respect. This means that care and support tasks are carried out with the consent of the person being cared for and that they are involved in decisions about the care they receive.
This sounds straightforward and obvious, but what do you do when a dementia patient refuses care?
Can a patient with dementia refuse care?
This will depend upon whether the individual living with dementia is deemed to have full ‘mental capacity’, meaning that they are able to fully understand their care options, and make decisions in the best interest of their own health and wellbeing. If this is the case, then the care a dementia patient receives or refuses is their own choice, and decisions cannot be made about their care without their consent.
If the individual living with dementia is deemed to ‘lack capacity’ by a medical professional or specialist dementia service, then others will need to be involved in making best-interest decisions about that individual’s care in order to keep them safe.
An individual may be considered to ‘lack capacity’ if their ability to fully understand and make decisions has been impacted by their dementia symptoms. If this is the case, then a best-interest decision will need to be made by all those involved in the individual’s care, for example, their family and next of kin, medical professionals, specialist health services and social workers. A best interest decision is a reflection of the individual’s preferences as well as their care needs, to ensure they can be both happy and safe.
All dementia care offered by Somerset Care is person-centred, providing care for the whole person (not just their dementia symptoms) to support them to live the life they choose.