- Cares for the whole person, rather than focusing solely on disease pathology
- emphasizes emotions and cognitive abilities, rather than decline
- Takes into account psychosocial context, rather than focusing solely on physical care
Thomas Kitwood is largely recognized as the pioneer of person-centered care. Kitwood, founder of the Bradford Dementia Group at the University of Bradford in Bradford, England, defined personhood as “a standing or status that is bestowed upon one human being, by others, in the context of relationship and social being. It implies recognition, respect, and trust” (1997, p. 8).
It is not only the neuropathology of dementia that disables individuals; interactions and relationships within the individual’s psycho-social environment are also largely responsible for diminishing personhood. Adaptation of the care approach can make a significant impact on the quality-of-life of people with dementia, as personhood is constantly shifting in response to socio-cultural context and relationships with others
Kitwood, T. (1997). Dementia reconsidered: The person comes first. New York, NY: Open University Press.