24 July 2023
Chloe Waterman awarded PhD
Dr Waterman’s thesis focused on legal decision-making in dementia
Congratulations to Chloe Waterman, Research Associate at the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, who was awarded a PhD at the University of Birmingham earlier this month. Dr Waterman’s thesis, “Legal Decision-Making in Dementia: A discourse and conversation analysis study”, was conducted under the supervision of Professors Rosie Harding and Elizabeth Peel.
Chloe writes: “My thesis sets out how people with dementia are affected by capacity law in England and Wales, with a focus on will making and Lasting Power of Attorney. I interviewed people with dementia and their informal carers and observed solicitor-client meetings where a client was making a will. I used conversation and discourse analysis to understand how concepts of capacity are used and understood in these settings. My findings include (but are not limited to): people with dementia and their carers experience barriers accessing equal legal rights; people with dementia and their carers are supported and informed by their relationships when making legal decisions. Regardless of law’s definition of individual decision making, this becomes more difficult in formal legal spaces. I conclude that for the values of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) to be met, and for people with dementia and their informal carers to achieve equal legal rights, capacity law in England and Wales should adopt a more relational model of law. This model of law could better reflect everyday decision making processes and recognise the positive value of relationships.”
While Chloe produces articles from her thesis, you can read about her work in the co-authored blog post: Dementia and stigma through the lenses of neuroculture and neoliberalism. She also has a book chapter forthcoming: A socio-legal investigation into making plans for dying, perspectives of people with dementia, in Routledge Sociological Futures Series: Death, Dying and Bereavement: New Sociological Perspectives. Chloe’s full thesis will be made available on the University of Birmingham thesis repository.
Chloe works in the Unit on the NIHR ARC South London social care theme and is interested in continuing working with people with dementia and exploring what can be done to enable people with dementia at the end of their life to have autonomy, freedom and choice.