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Lying in dementia care: An example of a culture that deceives in people's best interests

Lookup NU author(s): Ruth Elvish, Dr Derek Milne


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Objectives: Deceiving, bending the truth and being dishonest are all terms used for the act of lying. The use of deception in health settings has a rich cross-cultural history. In relation to dementia care, first, Deceptive practices in managing a family member with Alzheimer's disease. Symbolic Interaction, 17(1), 21-36) distinguished between four kinds of lies used by staff: 'going along with a misperception', 'with-holding the truth', 'little white lies' and 'use of tricks'. This article examined the issue of deception, developing a questionnaire to investigate attitudes towards lying to people with dementia. Secondly, information on the use of lies was presented within a workshop to determine whether it would lead to attitude change. Method: This study used a two-phased design. The first phase involved developing a 16-item questionnaire. The second phase validated the use of the questionnaire through a workshop; therapists' responses to a teaching programme were assessed. Results: The psychometric properties of the questionnaire are reported. Following the workshop, participants were found to have a more positive attitude towards the use of lies. The reasons underpinning changes in attitude are discussed. Conclusion: This study contributes to a more informed understanding regarding both the definition and use of lies. On the whole, participants developed a less generic perspective about lying, becoming more supportive of lies when used in specific situations in the best interests of the recipients. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Elvish R, James I, Milne D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Aging and Mental Health

Year: 2010

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 255-262

Print publication date: 01/04/2010

ISSN (print): 1360-7863

ISSN (electronic): 1364-6915

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13607861003587610

PubMed id: 20425644


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