University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Situational Dilemmas in Dementia Diagnosis.

Peel, Elizabeth (2014) Situational Dilemmas in Dementia Diagnosis. In: Life with Dementia 2014: Relations Conference, 15th - 17th October 2014, Linköping University, Sweden.

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Diagnosing dementia is difficult for various reasons and on a number of levels (ethical, medical, interpersonal). Historically, negative impact on the patient (e.g., creating anxiety), caregiver (longer time in a stressful role), and services (overloading of specialist services) has been emphasized. More recently, however, the benefits of ‘timely’ diagnosis have been stressed, and, it has been argued, ‘catastrophic’ reactions are relatively uncommon. Existing research focused on the delivery of dementia diagnosis has observed a lack of usage of explicit dementia-related terminology, which is positioned as problematic. In this talk, I take a more neutral stance on interaction in this context through applying discursive and conversation analytic insight to a (small) corpus of naturally-occurring UK memory clinic interactions. These interactions are drawn from eighteen memory clinic appointments (including three home visits) that were video-recorded with fifteen patients (mean age 76.66 years, range 55-92 years) and fourteen accompanying persons (thirteen relatives and one neighbour) as part of the British Academy funded Dementia Talking project. I relate these data to the broader literature on breaking bad news in medical encounters. I suggest that, contrary to euphemistic language - or the patient themselves not always being the primary interlocutor - being viewed as inherently problematic, conformity to intersubjective norms of minimizing catastrophic reactions in medical communication demonstrates sensitivity to patients and families. In conclusion, exploring actual diagnostic interactions in dementia care provides both a useful adjunct to policy guidance on ‘getting your dementia diagnosis’ and furthers understanding of identity in interaction.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: dementia diagnosis, dementia care
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Elizabeth Peel
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2014 09:08
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:05

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