Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Consent and RTE PrimeTime

May 24th, 2010 · 16 Comments · Irish Media

Who checked that the people who took part in the RTE Prime Time Investigates programme last night and if they truly understood how they would be portrayed in the programme or even wanted to participate?  I refer to the people diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimers.

Their families were no doubt asked and consented for them and some are understandably hoping that services will improve as a result of taking part in the programme.

There were numerous times during this programme that I flinched. Not only for the horrific situations faced by the families and their family member affected.

But also at

  • the constant use of the word nappies (by the narrator),
  • the footage of people who could not consent being washed, changed, having incontinence pads changed,
  • the frequent conversations about someone while in their presence.
  • The question to a woman in the early stages of the illness about her fears of a nursing home without someone to support her.
  • Putting someone in and out of a car to demonstrate difficulty in care and support – who asked him did he want to do that?

Of course he couldn’t answer if asked I know but some independent advocacy or editorial advice on making this programme was badly needed to ensure the rights to dignity of people with Alzheimers and Dementia was respected at all times.  The individual rights seem to have disappeared.

It is bad enough that the state treats people so badly and services are failing to cope and nobody seems to take responsibility, our National broadcaster exploited them for their programme.

Their stories could have been told with dignity and respect and clarity regarding their needs and the deficits in support.  I should have been horrified (if unsurprised) at the failure of the system and dilemmas being faced in planning for the present and future, instead I was despairing at the manner in how it was being portrayed.

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