Kitwood T Dementia reconsidered: the person comes first.Buckingham: Open University Press; 1997

Department of Health and Social Care. Living well with dementia: a national dementia strategy. 2009. https// (accessed 8 May 2024)

What would Tom Kitwood have thought?

02 June 2024
Volume 29 · Issue 6

The experience of living with dementia is now viewed very differently from when I first began my nurse training in 1975. Care was task-driven to patients who were viewed as non-people; no longer there because of dementia. They experienced little meaningful interaction, social engagement and, sadly, no value was placed on the person as an individual. Undoubtedly, there was an element of unconscious incompetence on my part as a student nurse. We have moved away, thankfully, from this stance of nihilism and of the person being lost to the disease while they are still alive, to one of personhood and of living well with dementia. There may be several reasons for this, both in the UK and worldwide. First, I would argue, this has changed through the work of Tom Kitwood, the pioneer of person-centred dementia care; secondly, through the first national dementia strategy (Depatment of Health and Social Care, 2009); and thirdly, as a result of the work of the many amazing ambassadors of people living with dementia who have shown and continue to show us what it is to live well with dementia.

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