A UK union representing nurses has voted overwhelmingly in favour of supporting those with dementia to continue looking after patients as long as they are able.
While not everyone at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual meeting in Liverpool on Monday agreed with the proposal, most felt their colleagues should be allowed to keep working as long as possible, the BBC reported.
Many argued the RCN had a unique opportunity to lead the way for the broader community.
“We should be embracing nurses with dementia, making it possible for them to continue to deliver excellent patient care in spite of their disability. It will send the right message,” London dementia nurse Joanna James told the conference, according to The Telegraph.
"We have robust laws in place against discrimination - but dementia is often seen as the exception to the rule and stigmatised."
There are currently no explicit guidelines in the UK for nurses with dementia but all nurses must be able to deliver “safe and effective practice” and put the safety of their patient's above all else.
Berkshire nurse Mary Codling, whose father suffered from dementia, argued against the move:
"How do you ensure that that person is delivering safe practice to patients?"
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After the final decision was made, RCN head Janet Davies said noone would be put in danger if nurses were properly assessed.
"Just because someone has a mental or physical impairment, it doesn't mean they're dangerous," she told the BBC.
"If they didn't have the capacity, they wouldn't be making critical decisions or calculations."