Statement on Caring and giving hope to persons living with progressive cognitive impairments and those who care for them.
The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly , 10 (3).
The participants in this colloquium used the term progressive cognitive impairments rather than dementia for several reasons. First, we wanted to avoid the pejorative sense that dementia has acquired in many languages and the hopelessness that this term often conveys to diagnosed individuals and their caregivers. See V. Hachinski, “Shifts in Thinking About Dementia,” JAMA 300.18 (Nov. 12, 2008): 2172–73; Don I. Trachenberg and John Q. Trojanowski, “Dementia: A Word to Be Forgotten,” Archives of Neurology 65.5 (May 2008): 593–95. Second, by using the plural impairments, we wanted to signal that the conditions we were discussing involve more than one area of cognitive functioning. Third, we wanted to focus only on those cognitive impairments that are progressive, are irreversible, and lead to death. See U. Guehne, S. Riedel-Heller, and M.C. Angermeyer, “Mortality in Dementia,” Neuroepidemiology 25.3 (2005): 153–62. Thus the term progressive cognitive impairments as used in this statement does not include every single type of dementia listed and defined in the International Statistical Classification of Disorders and Related Health Problems, Tenth Edition (ICD-10) (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2007) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) (Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2000).
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