Namaste Care: Encouraging positive change in care homes

Arwen Wilcock, Research Translation Manager at Alzheimer's Society, tells us what made her walk away from a programme launch inspired and optimistic about dementia care in the UK.

It’s no secret that providing care for people in the later stages of dementia is an extremely complex task, particularly for staff in care homes. 

The level of care in care homes is often not based on the best or most recent evidence. This is why we launched our ‘Implementation’ grant scheme, which aims to help the researchers create this evidence and makes sure their findings are actually put to good use in care settings.

Namaste (pronounced Na-mass-tay) Care is one of our very first Implementation research projects. It aims to enable staff to cater to the personal needs of residents with advanced dementia, focusing on the person rather than the process and protocol.

It was a privilege to attend the recent launch event for the Namaste Care research project, led by Professor Dawn Brooker at the University of Worcester.

Namaste Care

So what is Namaste Care all about?

Namaste Care changes the focus and structure of care given to residents at the later stages of their dementia. 

At the launch event, Dawn gave the example of 'giving a bath for the pleasure and enjoyment of having a bath rather than focusing on a bath as a process to get someone clean'.

The manner of care is described as ‘holistic’ because it is incorporated into all aspects of daily life and involves a range of physical, sensory and emotional approaches.

These approaches support residents with advanced dementia in many activities, for example managing pain, making sure they are getting enough to eat and drink and use of music to manage anxiety and stress.

Reported benefits

Using the Namaste Care approach has produced reports of ‘small miracles’ in some of the care homes in the USA where it has been trialled.

These include residents who had become non-verbal beginning to speak, visible signs of anxiety disappearing and residents laughing at bubbles blown around them. This was a significant change from people being isolated in rooms or being left in front of the television.

There is evidence that Namaste Care improves quality of life not only for residents but families and care home staff; some care home staff in the USA have reported that using the programme has helped them to feel more empowered and satisfied with their job.

The research

As an implementation research project, the researchers will aim to understand how to introduce the Namaste programme into UK care homes. It will focus on how to adapt the programme to improve quality of life for people with the complex needs associated with advanced dementia.

The project team will work with care providers and people living with dementia to provide valuable insights to support delivery of the Namaste programme. They will also create a professional network that can share learning; the aim is for this network to continue beyond the research project.

Voices of people affected by dementia

All research projects supported by Alzheimer’s Society involve people affected by dementia. This includes regularly monitoring the progress of the project.

One of the project’s monitors, Peter, said:

This project offers promising improvements in person care in care homes. Research in care and services allows scientific evaluation of interventions by practical implementation and leads to convincing care home management of the advantages of adopting the practice.'

Opportunities for care home staff to be involved

The project team are looking for people with experience of, or interest in Namaste Care  to take part in a survey to support the project.

If you have any questions, please contact the research team directly:

Jen Bray (Research Assistant)
E-mail:  [email protected],
Telephone: 01905 542326

12 comments

Add a comment

I am currently working within a busy NHS ward in which most patients are those who are living well with dementia at a transitional point of their lives and I am also keen to implement some ideas of the Namaste programme in hope to improve patients experiences of services and maintain quality of life. I have recently come across the idea of the Namaste program though studying a palliative care module and truly respect the ideology "to honour the spirit within".

I would really love to hear ideas as to how others have implemented the namaste programme and any challenges they faced, how it has improved the care experience and useful resources that I can share with colleagues to spread the word and introduce the idea. I have also requested some information and leaflets from "playlist for life" which I am exited to get staff patients and family members involved in.

This is helpful
11

Hi could you forward me more details on namaste care, I work as activities coordinator, our residents have dementia,
Regards heidi

This is helpful
4

Hi there,
I have recently returned to the UK after ten years managing care homes in Australia and New Zealand and now I am a Care Home Manager in Chester. We have quite a high number of residents who are bedbound and in the last stages of dementia, I am very interested in Namaste Care, can you please forward information to me regarding this project.

This is helpful
10

Hi Ann,
Thanks for getting in touch. We’re pleased to hear you’re keen to learn more about Namaste care.
You might like to read this article (published February 2018) that focuses on volunteers helping to provide Namaste care in London: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementia-together-magazine/feb-march-2018…
More recently, we published an update (in March 2019) that you might find interesting. This article explains what the researchers learned, and explains why Alzheimer’s Society are further funding this project: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Care-and-cure-magazine/spring-19/namaste-…
Later this month, there’s a free event happening at the University of Worcester Arena, which you might be keen to attend: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/celebration-of-namaste-care-tickets-6200…
We hope this helps.
-
Alzheimer’s Society blog team

This is helpful
8

I am a care home manager looking to start, promote and change the approach for caring of the elderly in one of my units within the home. I am fascinated and excited about the namaste approach.

This is helpful
5

I, like Darlene Pettigrew, am about to start as a Care Home Manager in Norfolk UK. As many residents are living with dementia I would like to change our approach to encourage positive change. Are there Namaste resources and training available in the UK to make lasting changes?

This is helpful
7

Many thanks for your interest in Namaste Care. An Alzheimer’s Society-funded research project is coming to an end in the next few months. As part of this project a Community of Practice has been created, which is free to join and puts you in touch with other Namaste Care practitioners. The findings from the research, guidance on implementing Namaste Care and opportunities for training can all be found there.
https://adscommunities.ning.com/ .
You simply apply for membership and this should be approved within a few days. If you require any further information about the research project please contact Isabelle Latham, the project lead on [email protected] .

This is helpful
6

I work in a senior acute psych unit as a RN in michigan and realized while reading this my team of coworkers do a lot of these same ideas and it works very well. i knew i was working with a great team of docs and nurses , but this still will be hood to bring up in meetings

This is helpful
11

I am a ward manager in an NHS hospital and have recently introduced Namaste on my ward (female organic inpatient ward) We've been working closely with our local hospice and myself and my team have been using Namaste with some, good, clinical effect. I am trying to promote the use of Namaste on the other older adult units within the Trust. I'd love to hear of other healthcare professionals/carers/relatives thoughts and experiences on using Namaste and the impact it's had when used -good or bad.

This is helpful
10

Hi Annette how are you applying this model to your NHS ward? I work in a community hospital, predominantly elderly care, rehab and palliative care. Would love to introduce this to our ward and continue to enhance inpatient stay.

This is helpful
4

Hello,

I would be very interested in implementing this on the ward I work within a small community hospital. Did you get a response and any idea how I can find any more info?

This is helpful
8

Great to see the tide turning toward well-being focused care instead of symptom focus care.

We are making sure this happens for the design of caring environments too. Standard care environment design models have nothing to do with wellbeing or person centred care, or relationship centred care. We have a new evidence based way of putting together caring environments that is well-being based, person centred and community centred.

We are offering presentations.

Wish you all well with the great Namaste Care research.

[email protected]

This is helpful
6
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.