Below is an article published on Friday, 11/3/17 by Kaiser Health News. The original article can be found at https://khn.org/news/new-instructions-could-let-dementia-patients-refuse-spoon-feeding/ and is republished here, according to the guidelines of Kaiser Health News.
A “right to die” organization based in Washington state is pushing a new advanced directive that would allow people with dementia to refuse to be fed by hand – using an advanced directive. The guidelines are allegedly straightforward and suggest it’s easy to tell when someone with dementia has lost all interest in food and liquid. My comments suggest that “refusal” cases have a history of starting out narrowly defined and are broadened over time. By the end of the article, advocates of this new initiative confirm my concerns – stating they would like to prevent any hand-feeding but that “this is where it must begin.”
The article doesn’t get to discuss troublesome questions around this initiative: Is this really a big problem? Is it that easy to tell when a person doesn’t want to eat or drink at all? Is people needing time and care to eat a bigger problem than lack of hunger?