Tom Kitwood

Spark of Life International Master Course (Education)


By Spark of Life Team © dementiacareinternational

The next Spark of Life International Master course will be held from Saturday 21st October to Friday 10th November 2017 in Perth, Western Australia.

Click here to download the Flyer for the October-November 2017 Master Course >>

For more information and to receive the Application Form and Application Questionnaire for either of these courses, email our team directly on

*Please note all participants must go through an application and approval process by the selection panel at DCA.

Tom Kitwood

As we discover the person who has dementia, we also discover something of ourselves. For what we ultimately have to offer is not technical expertise but ordinary faculties raised to a higher level: Our power to feel, to give, stand in the shoes (or sit in the chair) of another, through the use of our imagination. At times we may even offer love.

      ~ Professor Tom Kitwood, Father of Person Centred Care

Elevating Carers

Spark of Life as a whole systems approach and facilitated by Master Practitioners is about implementing the essence of Tom Kitwood’s Person Centred Care. It comes back to the core of what caring is all about; to see the person not the disease and give understanding and kindness, supporting each person as a true individual with their unique personality, biography, physical health status, cognitive abilities and social psychology.

Through practical, experiential and detailed education, Master Practitioners, who are leaders, managers or educators, can help elevate the emotional intelligence of their teams in a way that supports an optimistic culture of love and compassion.

The education a Master Practitioner provides includes how to understand challenging behaviours as an expression of unmet needs and how to meet these needs in a meaningful and lasting way by addressing the root cause. Master Practitioners also teach their colleagues how to unlock dormant abilities such as dormant language through enriching the quality of each individual interaction. And they are able to support family members who may be struggling with having a loved one with dementia and offer them practical tips, support and strategies to heal relationships that may be broken.


Caragh Anderson

My Story

Caragh Anderson, a Master Practitioner from Juel OT working in community aged care on the Central Coast of NSW, has the following experiences to share:

‘Since completing the Spark of Life International Master Course I have been able to work with my clients who have dementia along with their families and carers in a very person-centred way. In particular we have been focussing on dissolving challenging behaviours. Spark of Life provides an approach that is so respectful of every individual and so empowering for the person with dementia. By looking beyond the ‘challenging behaviour’ and having confidence in the person’s potential, we are able to see the real beauty of the person underneath and treat them with the respect that they deserve. By addressing the unmet emotional needs, we can decrease people with dementia’s dependency on psychotropic drugs. I have already started seeing the wonderful effects of the Spark of Life Approach and have been receiving beautiful feedback from families and carers’.

 Spark of Life Centre of Excellence

Master Practitioners can also take their organisation on the journey to become a Spark of Life Centre of Excellence. helendelmonte.jpg

Since 2010, Helen Delmonte, a Master Practitioner from Auckland, New Zealand, has been taking her aged care organisation, Mercy Parklands, on this journey. There has been many benefits along the way from implementing the whole systems approach across the entire organisation and in April 2012 the organisation received Achievement of Continuous improvement and Excellence ratings in their audit report that stated, ‘Mercy Parklands gained recognition for the comprehensive implementation and integration of the Spark of Life Approach to care throughout the service, not only for residents with dementia. This achievement is beyond the expected full attainment for the individualisation of the care plans, which reflect the Spark of Life.’

In February 2014, Mercy Parklands became the world’s first Spark of Life Centre of Excellence. Click here to read more >>

 Diversity of Application

Spark of Life is now implemented in eight diverse cultures and countries around the world by 33 Master Practitioners who are practicing in the following fields:

  • residential and community care
  • mental health
  • visiting support for in home care
  • the aboriginal community.

Spark of Life is now also moving into other fields such as intellectual disability, autism, education and acute hospital care.

 Experiences from our Master Practitioners

bianca_briggs_cropped.jpgBiana Briggs

Bianca Briggs from Brightwater Home Care in Perth, WA has experienced many benefits through educating her staff in the Spark of Life Philosophy:

‘Spark of Life has enabled my staff to have the confidence to be creative and think outside of the box and really get to know the person that they are caring for… and I have had gratitude from families for staff treating their loved one with compassion and empathy.’


alisonrolfe.jpgAlison Rolfe

Allison Rolfe from Osborne Park Older Adult Mental Health, Perth, WA shares her thoughts on becoming a Spark of Life Master Practitioner:

‘I have come away from the Master Course with the knowledge that the skill of Spark of Life lies in it’s subtleties.  However, there is a lot of learning and development that must occur before the subtleties are mastered.  It has been immensely beneficial for me to step outside of a purist medical model and consider other avenues to recovery and health for my clients.’


laurapanarello.jpgLaura Panarello

Laura Panarello from COASIT Italian Community Service,  QLD on her rementia experiences:

We have had clients with dementia who have not spoken – speak again, engage in deep and meaningful conversation and share their amazing wealth of knowledge and wisdom.’

The Course

The Spark of Life International Master Course is the only course that certifies a person to educate in the Spark of Life within their own workplace. This enables them to positively influence the lives of many, many residents, clients and patients. Graduates can implement the Spark of Life Philosophy and can take their facilities on the journey to become a Spark of Life Centre of Excellence.

The unique value of this International Master Course is that it enables one person to learn all that is needed to implement the Spark of Life Philosophy within all levels of an organisation and with all clients. It is creating a culture where everyone is working together towards dementia rehabilitation in an atmosphere of love and appreciation.

The Spark of Life Master Course has been undertaken by participants from 10 countries including members of Native American and Aboriginal communities. The approach is moving to new fields outside dementia care such as mental health, intellectual disability and Autism.

Listen to the Honorable Helen Morton MLC speak at the 2013 Spark of Life International Master Course >>


Watch this video from Course Facilitator & Spark of Life President, Hilary Lee >>