Ethical guidance

This page provides details of a number of useful factsheets and guidance documents relating to the ethical use of assistive technology and telecare and ethical issues in dementia care more generally.

Reflections on ethics, dementia and technology. Baldwin, C. in Woolham, J. (ed) Assistive Technology in dementia care. Hawker publications 2006.

This chapter discusses some of the underlying philosophical and ethical issues regarding technology per se and its application in the field of dementia care.


The ASTRID Guide to using technology within dementia care is one of the main outputs of the ASTRID project: A Social and Technological Response to meeting the needs of Individuals with Dementia and their carers. It is the result of a collaborative effort by experts from four countries; the UK, Norway, Netherlands and Ireland. The guide includes a chapter on addressing ethical issues.

Communication and consultation: Exploring ways for staff to involve people with dementia in developing services. Allan, K. Policy Press 2001.

This book by Kate Allan explores how staff can encourage people with dementia to express their views and preferences in the course of day-to-day practice.

Ethical issues in dementia care

This book considers ethical decisions in the context of relationships, treatment, safety and quality of life. It draws on the experiences of family carers as well as on existing research and emphasizes the importance of empathy and the need to acknowledge different perspectives in order to reach the best decision for the person with dementia.

Independence, choice and risk: a guide to best practice in supported decision making (Archived) Department of Health 2007.

This best practice guide is for the use of everyone involved in supporting adults (18 and over) using health and social care within any setting, whether community or residential, in the public, independent or voluntary sectors. This includes all NHS staff working in multi-disciplinary or joint teams.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Mental Capacity Act provides a statutory framework to empower and protect people who may lack capacity to make some decisions for themselves. The Act received Royal Assent on 7 April 2005 and came into force in April 2007.

Rights, risks and limits to freedom

This guidance aims to help guide thinking on the use of restraint and encourage all care staff to consider their actions and the impact that those actions may have on the people they are caring for.

Safe to wander?

Principles and guidance on good practice in caring for residents with dementia and related disorders where consideration is being given to the use of wandering technologies in care homes and hospitals. Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland 2005.

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland has produced general principles and guidance to be considered when considering the use of any wandering technology. Although primarily aimed towards the care of residents with dementia in care homes and hospitals, this guidance is also relevant to people living in their own homes.

Social Care TV: Telecare - The ethical debate

This film exploring some of the ethical issues raised by the use of telecare, has been produced by the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

SCIE Report 30: Ethical issues in the use of telecare. May 2010

This report produced by the Social Care Institute for Excellence explores the complex ethical issues surrounding the commissioning and provision of telecare and the difficult decisions that professionals may face.

Technology, dementia and ethics: Rethinking the issues in Disability Studies Quarterly.

Technology, Ethics and Dementia: a guidebook on how to apply technology in dementia care. Bjørneby, S., Topo, P. & Holthe, T. (1999). Norwegian Centre for Dementia Research. 1999.

This is a guidebook for carers and professionals that aims to support the procedures of discussing, choosing and implementing technology for people with dementia. Ethical dilemmas encountered in this process are outlined and procedural guidelines described. Descriptions of case studies are given and useful assessment tools provided.

Telecare and ethics Factsheet 2005

This factsheet produced by the former Care Services Improvement Partnership provides information and guidance on ethical principles relating to the introduction of telecare to vulnerable people.

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