The care of patients with dementia: A modern Jewish ethical perspective

Alan B. Jotkowitz, A. Mark Clarfield, Shimon Glick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Patients with dementia and their families can face many difficult and agonizing ethical dilemmas over the course of the illness. An awareness of the Jewish ethical response to some of these issues can help clinicians in treating patients of the Jewish faith and also serve as an example of how one ethical system addresses these questions. The Jewish response is grounded in a profound respect and value for human life in all its forms and man's responsibility to preserve it, but Judaism rejects unproven therapies and recognizes the limitations of modern medicine. Jewish law also codifies normative obligations that children have toward their elderly parents. With these principles in the forefront, this article analyzes a Jewish ethical response to various problems in the care of the demented patient such as truth telling, transfer to a nursing home, artificial nutrition, and end-of-life care, taking into account modern concepts of the doctor-patient relationship and ancient Jewish tradition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-884
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial nutrition
  • Dementia
  • Jewish medical ethics
  • Palliative care
  • Truth telling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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