Therapeutic Lying and Approaches to Dementia Care in Ireland: North and South (2016)

This study focuses on understanding what is the best approach for carers to take when a person with dementia ask questions or makes statements that are false. The study was designed using a mixed methods approach comprising a literature review, focus groups with people with dementia and informal carers and an international Delphi survey of professional experts. Three main approaches in use when a person with dementia says somethings that is false were identified from the literature. These were validation therapy, reality orientation and an approach referred to as therapeutic lying, although no consensus exists regarding the latter approach because of the questions it raises about honesty, trust and integrity. The study found strong similarities between the views of people with dementia, their family carers and professional experts, with the consensus being that no single approach suits everyone and is appropriate all the time. There was agreement that lying to a person with dementia with an intention to cause harm was never acceptable, but that therapeutic lying was an acceptable approach, but only when it is used to promote and safeguard wellbeing. However, although there is acceptance of and seemingly high prevalence of therapeutic lying, this practice is at odds with codes of professional conduct and raises questions in relation to ethical and best practice guidelines governing healthcare professional practice, which stipulate that lying to people with dementia is inappropriate. The report presents a set of principles and recommendations emerging from the study.
Title: 
Therapeutic Lying and Approaches to Dementia Care in Ireland: North and South (2016)
Date: 
2016
Book Area: 
References: 
Casey, D., Lynch, U., Murphy, K., Cooney, A., Gannon, M., Houghton, C., Hunter, A., Jordan, F., Smyth, S., Conway, A., Kenny, F., Devane, D., Meskell, P. (2016) Therapeutic Lying and Approaches to Dementia Care in Ireland: North and South, Dublin: Institute of Public Health in Ireland.