Dementia and well-being: A conceptual framework based on Tom Kitwood's model of needs

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Abstract

The topic of well-being is becoming increasingly significant as a key outcome measure in dementia care. Previous work on personhood of individuals with dementia suggests that their subjective well-being can be described in terms of comfort, inclusion, identity, occupation and attachment. The study aimed to examine Tom Kitwood's model of psychological needs and well-being in dementia based on the self-report of individuals with moderate or severe dementia and to differentiate and elaborate this model in the light of the empirical qualitative data. Nineteen inhabitants of a special long-term care unit were interviewed using a semi-structured interview. Data were analysed using content analysis. Thirty components within Kitwood's model have been identified. A conceptual framework of subjective well-being in dementia was developed based on a theoretical background. The study was able to find indications that Kitwood's model has empirical relevance. Nevertheless, it requires to be extended by the domain agency. Furthermore, the study suggests that individuals with dementia are important informants of their subjective well-being.

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