Confidentiality and the diagnosis of dementia

By 14th November 2011Media, Uncategorized

You&Yours are keeping me busy today! Another article discussed the issue of people with dementia and patient confidentiality. Again this question demonstrates the unique experience of dementia – some people argued that GPs should communicate the diagnosis to wider family members due to the fact that people cannot always recall the details of their diagnosis or any advice they had been giving during an appointment. Others argued that there were ways around this – inviting a relative to the appointment for example.But not everyone will want their family to know the formal diagnosis and not everyone will have someone they trust to take to their surgery.

I have not given this area much thought as I was not aware it was up for debate but I can see both sides of the story – legally our GP cannot disclose our medical information to third parties however this is not necessarily in the best interests of the person if they have memory problems. If the patient has drawn up a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare this means that someone has been nominated to make care decisions on behalf of the patient but it isn’t much use if the attorney is not aware that it’s time to start using it. Further thoughts welcome….

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