Mapping empirical experiences of Tom Kitwood's framework of person-centred care for persons with dementia in institutional settings. A scoping review

Scand J Caring Sci. 2020 Mar;34(1):6-22. doi: 10.1111/scs.12709. Epub 2019 May 20.


Introduction: Tom Kitwood's theoretical framework of person-centred care is extensively and internationally referred to in healthcare services. However, despite the broad use of Kitwood's approach in clinical practice, the research examining experiences with the approach has not been mapped.

Aim: To map the available literature on current empirical experiences in clinical practice of Kitwood's approach to person-centred care for people with dementia, living in institutional settings in primary health care.

Methods: A total of 154 studies concerning the experiences of people with dementia and their formal caregivers' use of Kitwood's framework of person-centred care for residents living in institutional settings in primary health care were compiled from scientific databases. All three authors engaged in a systematic selection process, leading to nineteen articles being included in the review.

Results: The results showed an overall tendency towards positive experiences gained from applying person-centred approaches in clinical practice influenced by Kitwood's theoretical framework. Through the synthesis of data from the selected studies, six categories related to our research aim were identified 'Theoretical evaluation of Tom Kitwood's model of care', 'Models and frameworks', 'Interventions', 'Communication', 'Dementia Care Mapping' and 'Environment'.

Conclusion: The present review included nineteen studies published from 1998 to 2016 and consisted mainly of peer-reviewed scientific articles, followed by dissertations, conference posters and nonpeer-reviewed articles. All studies were undertaken in Western countries. The vast majority of the studies considered Kitwood's theoretical framework to be beneficial and useful in practice.

Keywords: Kitwood; dementia; experiences; institutional settings; person-centred care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Empirical Research
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes / organization & administration*
  • Patient-Centered Care*