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The full spectrum of ethical issues in dementia care: systematic qualitative review

  • Daniel Strech (a1), Marcel Mertz (a2), Hannes Knuüppel (a3), Gerald Neitzke (a4) and Martina Schmidhuber (a4)...

Integrating ethical issues in dementia-specific training material, clinical guidelines and national strategy plans requires an unbiased awareness of all the relevant ethical issues.


To determine systematically and transparently the full spectrum of ethical issues in clinical dementia care.


We conducted a systematic review in Medline (restricted to English and German literature published between 2000 and 2011) and Google books (with no restrictions). We applied qualitative text analysis and normative analysis to categorise the spectrum of ethical issues in clinical dementia care.


The literature review retrieved 92 references that together mentioned a spectrum of 56 ethicalissues in clinical dementia care. The spectrum was structured into seven major categories thatconsist of first- and second-order categories for ethical issues.


The systematically derived spectrum of ethical issues in clinical dementia care presented in this paper can be used as training material for healthcare professionals, students and the public for raising awareness and understanding of the complexity of ethical issues in dementia care. It can also be used to identify ethical issues that should be addressed in dementia-specific training programmes, national strategy plans and clinical practice guidelines. Further research should evaluate whether this new genre of systematic reviews can be applied to the identification of ethical issues in other cognitive and somatic diseases. Also, the practical challenges in addressing ethical issues in training material, guidelines and policies need to be evaluated.

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Corresponding author
Daniel Strech, Hannover Medical School, Institute for History, Ethics and Philosophy in Medicine, CELLS - Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences, Carl-Neuberg Straβe 1, 30625 Hanover, Germany. Email:
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The full spectrum of ethical issues in dementia care: systematic qualitative review

  • Daniel Strech (a1), Marcel Mertz (a2), Hannes Knuüppel (a3), Gerald Neitzke (a4) and Martina Schmidhuber (a4)...
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