Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2018


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Gerard Magill

Committee Member

Henk ten Have

Committee Member

Joris Gielen


Alzheimer's disease, dementia, ethics, ethics of care, care ethics, relational autonomy, social responsibility


Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no cure or effective treatments. The disease has devastating effects on the individuals whom it strikes and because its prevalence continues to rise, it significantly threatens the public good. Throughout its lengthy duration from diagnosis to death there are numerous ethical issues concerning patients individually as well as society generally. The management of the burdens of Alzheimer’s disease presents a formidable ethical challenge from the perspective of patients and society. The ethics of care is adopted to address this problem because of its flexibility to integrate personal care needs with public good. An ethics of care approach can facilitate effective management of the burden of Alzheimer’s disease when its two components, relational autonomy and social responsibility, are integrated and analyzed.

From the earliest stages to the most severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease the ethics of care can help to incorporate personal care and the public good, providing high-quality care while enhancing public wellbeing. The ethics of care is attentive to the need to engage clinical ethics with organizational ethics for the proper management of the disease. From the perspective of clinical ethics, relational autonomy and social responsibility can address the ethical issues related to diagnosis in early stages to management in severe stages. From the perspective of organizational ethics, the focus upon relational autonomy highlights the organizational components underlying quality of care, and the focus on social responsibility highlights the need to control costs and improve access to care. The ethics of care approach combines clinical and organizational ethics to manage the burden of Alzheimer’s disease in a manner that unites personal care and the public good in a sustainable and effective manner.