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Petals of Compassion: Kitwood's Flower and Person-Centered Dementia Care

Updated: Jan 19

Introduction

Dementia care is not just about medical treatment and managing symptoms; it's about understanding the profound emotional needs of individuals grappling with this condition. This is where Kitwood's Flower comes into play.


The Essence of Kitwood's Flower

Kitwood's Flower is a model that revolutionized dementia care. It encapsulates six key psychological needs that every individual, regardless of their cognitive state, yearns for. These needs are:

Kitwood's Flower

  1. Identity: This represents who a person truly is, their sense of self, their history, and their personal narratives.

  2. Inclusion: It's about feeling part of a community, experiencing a sense of belonging, and not being isolated or left out.

  3. Attachment: This refers to the human need for affection, companionship, and connection, which is fundamental for emotional well-being.

  4. Comfort: Beyond physical ease, it encompasses alleviating emotional pain, distress, and ensuring a sense of security.

  5. Occupation: This doesn't just imply work; it means engaging in meaningful activities that provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment.

  6. Love: This involves not just the romantic sense, but a broader idea of being cherished and cared for, and knowing that one matters to others.

Why Kitwood's Flower Matters

Understanding and addressing these psychological needs are crucial in dementia care. When individuals feel that these needs are met, it can significantly improve their overall well-being. It's not just about administering medication or ensuring physical comfort; it's about providing a nurturing environment that caters to their emotional and psychological requirements.


Practical Application of Kitwood's Flower

In practice, Kitwood's Flower urges caregivers to embrace a person-centered approach. It prompts them to see beyond the condition, and truly understand the individual beneath. It encourages the creation of environments that foster a sense of belonging and purpose.


For instance, instead of seeing repetitive questions as mere symptoms, Kitwood's approach prompts us to recognize it as a reflection of the individual's need for reassurance and consistency.


The Impact of Kitwood's Flower

Numerous studies have shown that adopting Kitwood's Flower approach leads to enhanced well-being among individuals with dementia. It diminishes behavioral challenges, reduces the need for medications, and fosters a more positive and enriching care environment.


Conclusion

Kitwood's Flower isn't just a model; it's a philosophy that reminds us to treat individuals with dementia not as patients, but as human beings with emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs. It's an approach that emphasizes dignity, respect, and the preservation of a person's identity.


In embracing Kitwood's Flower, we embark on a journey to transform dementia care from a clinical endeavor into an empathetic, holistic, and deeply humane practice.


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