Person-centred care for people with learning disabilities: the application of Kitwood’s theory
evidence and practice    

Person-centred care for people with learning disabilities: the application of Kitwood’s theory

Lynette Harper Senior Lecturer, learning disability nursing, Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England
Alina Oltean Nursing Student, Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England
David Baker Nursing Student, Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To be aware of how Tom Kitwood’s seminal work on the delivery of person-centred interactions with people who are living with dementia can be applied to learning disability practice

  • To recognise that the more time we take to know someone, the more we are able to respect, value and empathise with them

  • To understand how person-centred interactions can improve therapeutic relationships with people who have a learning disability and enhance their quality of life, well-being, self-esteem and self-identity

Tom Kitwood’s conceptual approach has been widely used to provide person-centred care for people living with dementia, but has not previously been explored in relation to people with learning disabilities. This article discusses how Kitwood’s ideas about the common behaviours by healthcare staff that undermine a person’s well-being – malignant social psychology – are also found when working and interacting with people who have learning disabilities. The authors outline how adapting malignant behaviours and interactions to be more person-centred can improve relationships, self-value and worth for people with learning disabilities.

Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2020.e2014

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

Lynette.Harper@sgul.kingston.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Harper L, Oltean A, Baker D (2020) Person-centred care for people with learning disabilities: the application of Kitwood’s theory. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2020.e2014

Published online: 26 May 2020

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