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Consultation on dementia care

People whose lives are affected by dementia are being asked for their views on the ethical dilemmas facing patients and those who care for them.

Dementia is a degenerative condition characterised by a number of signs and symptoms, such as memory problems, mood changes and communication difficulties. It is estimated that around 700,000 people in the UK have the condition.

It is hoped that a public discussion of the sensitive issue will lead to guidance and advice being developed for families, carers and health workers.

The consultation by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics will look at a wide range of issues, such as whether it is right to restrain a person with dementia to reduce the risk of wandering, or to deceive them - for example, by disguising medication in food.

To inform its deliberations, it would like to hear the views of people with dementia, carers, those working in health and social care, policy makers, academics, researchers and members of the public.

The closing date for written submissions is 31 July 2008 and a report setting out the group's findings will be published in autumn 2009.

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