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.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Latest stories from i100
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.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?