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Medicine and Public Policy |

Dementia in the Elderly: An Analysis of Medical Responsibility

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Christine Cassel, M.D.; Gerontology Section (111A), Veterans Administration Medical Center/Portland Division, 3710 S.W. United States Veterans Hospital Road, P.O. Box 1034; Portland, OR 97201.

Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, California

© 1981 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1981;94(6):802-807. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-94-6-802
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Chronic dementia syndromes are often assumed to be untreatable, and thus patients with these disorders are neglected and their condition worsens. Many interventions, however, can improve the functional capacity of these persons, and thus their abandonment has no ethical justification. Analysis of this problem points to psychological, educational, and institutional barriers responsible for the inadequate care of the demented. Physicians have the ability and power, and therefore the responsibility, to improve this situation.


dementia ; elderly





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