In seminar today we welcomed Tobias Haeusermann, new neuroethics postdoc in the Decision Lab, by discussing his recently-published paper “Professionalised intimacy: how dementia care workers navigate between domestic intimacy and institutional detachment”. This paper was derived from Toby’s PhD dissertation work in Germany’s first dementia village. Toby shared the genesis of the project, including how his fieldwork was informed by his prior personal experience working in a nursing home for the Swiss civilian service. Toby also discussed recent international extensions of the Dementia Village concept, including a planned U.S. institution.

In our discussion, we examined continuing tensions in the aim of making dementia more patient-centric, including the balance between freedom and safety, the conflicting demands of patients’ family members, the institution’s own needs in establishing a predictable routine, and care workers’ sense of professional identity and competence.