CMS, Courts Rule On Dementia Patients' Abilities To Consent To Sexual Conduct

An appellate court in one state has ruled that two dementia patients having sexual conduct in a nursing home facility cannot be considered consensual. The patients are unable to make cognitive decisions and therefore are unable to consent. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have identified policies as follows: 

“Generally, sexual contact is nonconsensual if the resident either:

  • Appears to want the contact to occur, but lacks the cognitive ability to consent; or
  • Does not want the contact to occur.”

The policy makes it clear that although patients generally have the right to make their own decisions about sexual conduct, those patients with dementia are disqualified as they are unable to make cognitive decisions. For more, read the story