Are persons with cognitive impairment able to state consistent choices?

  • Feinberg L
  • Whitlatch C
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Purpose: This study examined the decision-making capac-ity of persons with cognitive impairment with respect to their everyday care preferences and choices. This is the first in a series of articles to report on findings from a larger study that examines choice, decision making, values, prefer-ences, and practices in everyday care for community-dwell-ing persons with cognitive impairment and their family caregivers. Design and Methods: Fifty-one respondent pairs, or dyads, were interviewed, that is, persons with cog-nitive impairment (n ϭ 51) and their family caregivers (n ϭ 51). All persons with cognitive impairment were inter-viewed twice within a week using a parallel interview to de-termine stability and accuracy of responses. The family caregiver was interviewed once. Results: Persons with mild to moderate cognitive impairment (i.e., Mini-Mental State Exam scores 13–26) are able to respond consistently to questions about preferences, choices, and their own involvement in decisions about daily living, and to pro-vide accurate and reliable responses to questions about demographics. Implications: Including the perspective of persons with cognitive impairment in both research and practice has the potential to enhance their autonomy and improve their quality of life.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Decision making
  • Dementia
  • Everyday care
  • Preferences

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  • L. F. Feinberg

  • C. J. Whitlatch

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