Obituary: Professor Thomas Kitwood

THOMAS KITWOOD was a pioneer in the field of dementia care. He developed innovative research projects and training courses, challenging the "old culture of care". His aim was to understand, as far as is possible, what care is like from the standpoint of the person with dementia.

One of his major innovations was Dementia Care Mapping, an observational method for evaluating the quality of care in formal settings, which resulted from one of his first research projects. He was always interested and involved in research with the aim of following it through to practice. His book Dementia Reconsidered: the person comes first (1997) brought together all his work, developments and discoveries over the last 12 years.

Kitwood was born in 1937 in Boston, Lincolnshire, and educated at Cambridge, achieving a BA in Natural Sciences in 1960. He trained for the priesthood at Wycliffe Hall, and was ordained in 1962. After completing his National Service he went on to teach chemistry at Sherborne School in Dorset for seven years. He then moved to Uganda to teach chemistry at Busoga Boys School, where he also became school chaplain.

It was here that he wrote his first book What is Human? (1970), and in 1969 married Jenny Cooper. Their son, Andrew, was born in Uganda, and their daughter, Lucy, in Bradford after their return to England. Kitwood completed an MSc in the Psychology and Sociology of Education at Bradford in 1974. He followed this with a PhD in Social Psychology in 1977, and worked part-time at the university as a lecturer.

He was appointed a senior lecturer in psychology at Bradford University in 1984. His particular interest lay in counselling, psychotherapy and depth psychology. He became involved in dementia when he was commissioned to do a project for Bradford Health Authority.

His research interests were in the details of care practice, and long- term outcomes when care is of high quality. Several substantial projects led to innovations widely accepted in Britain and elsewhere. For example, over the last three years he developed the "Depth Psychology of Dementia Care" course, which related his experience of teaching depth psychology to the dementia field.

The idea was to provide students with an opportunity to explore and develop the feeling, emotional and intuitive parts of themselves, so as to enrich personal resources in their work and everyday life. Innovations of this kind have played a major part in improving the care of people with dementia, both in the community and in formal settings.

In 1992 he founded Bradford Dementia Group, initially a side-line. Its philosophy is based on a "person-centred" approach, quite simply to "treat others in a way you yourself would like to be treated".

The group moved from the department of Interdisciplinary Human Studies to the School of Health Studies, within Bradford University, in April 1998. It consists of eight core members, with 18 associates spread throughout the UK. These associates are authorised to use the group's innovations or to teach courses developed by the group and aligned to its approach to care .

In September 1998 Kitwood gained a personal chair from Bradford University and was appointed the Alois Alzheimer Professor of Psychogerontology. He was the author of numerous publications on dementia, including Person to Person: A Guide to the Care of Those with Failing Mental Powers, with Kathleen Bredin (1991); he recently won the Age Concern "book of the year" award for Dementia Reconsidered.

Besides his contribution to research Kitwood pioneered several key educational and training initiatives related to the care of people with dementia. The most popular is a three-day training course on the Person-Centred Approach and Dementia Care Mapping. The uniqueness of the method is that it takes the standpoint of the person with dementia. It is one of the group's most popular short courses, taught nationally and internationally.

As Tom Kitwood's work became known internationally the Bradford Dementia Group developed contacts with Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the US. In 1998 he delivered Person-Centred Approach and Dementia Care Mapping courses in Sweden and the US, training in Ohio and North Carolina in October.

Tom Kitwood was a great communicator and well known for his charisma in delivering courses, presentations, conferences and seminars. A person of rare talents, he was an inspiration to many people world-wide. Although he had previously been a school chaplain, he renounced any particular religious attachment, but retained a concern with spirituality, conscious of the art of meditation and the importance of looking after the "inner self". He had a very active social life, and enjoyed long walks in the countryside, games of tennis, dancing and playing the guitar.

Thomas Marris Kitwood, psycho-gerontologist: born Boston, Lincolnshire 16 February 1937; Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Bradford University 1984- 98, Alois Alzheimer Professor of Psychogerontology 1998; married 1969 Jenny Cooper (one son, one daughter; marriage dissolved 1986); died Bradford 1 November 1998.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape