NEWS: Joyce has been named one of Provider Magazine's "Top 20 to Watch in 2013"!
Welcome to Namaste Care
“No long-term care residential
setting should be without Namaste Care...”
- Jan Dougherty, R.N., M.S., Director, Family & Community Services, Banner Alzheimer's Institute
In 2003 I created Namaste Care, a program for people with advanced dementia in nursing facilities. The foundation of this program is "the power of loving touch" and it appears that I underestimated the need all humans have to be touched in a loving way. Since its inception, Namaste Care is now not only in nursing homes but the program can be found in assisted living communities, hospice organizations and the list continues to grow. I recently worked with a younger man in a hospice program who was in the terminal stage of cancer. Just lovingly stroking him on his head and face while telling him what a beautiful man he was helped him drift off to a peaceful sleep.
The Namaste Carers have shown me that residents in the moderate stage of a dementing illness and who are easily agitated by too much stimulation are calmed by sitting in the Namaste Care room. Even the resident who constantly paces is sometimes drawn into the room by the scent of lavender and soft music and will sit for a while. We have found in most programs that the use of antipsychotics are decreased or eliminated, fewer residents fall and because we are constantly offering beverages, skin tears and urinary tract infections decrease significantly.
The older I get, the more I realize that not much in life is simply a coincidence. When I happened to be present at the death of a Namaste Care resident Matthew Wilk, his wife Celia urged me to write about her husband's experience in Namaste and the first small article was published. Again, little did I know that this was the seed that grew into a book "The End-of-Life Namaste Care Program for People with Advanced Dementia" published by Health Professions Press. It was popular enough for Health Professions Press to ask me to write a second edition that will be available this spring. I’m amazed as I am rewriting chapters that so much has changed from little things like taking cassette recorders off the list of supplies to including an entire chapter on assisted living and including hospice Namaste Care programs in the chapter on Dying & Death.
Namaste Care is now truly international, as I have been invited to speak about Namaste Care in the United States, Asia, Europe, England, and Australia. I was engaged in a research project with the School of Nursing and Midwifery of the University of Western Sydney. The project is titled "Avoiding 'high tech' through 'high touch' in End Stage Dementia”. The results will be published sometime in 2013.
Last year I was part of another research project sponsored by St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. Then Scotland asked me to do a workshop and now they have several Namaste Care Programs in care homes. It does not appear to matter what country I am in, people struggle to provide quality of life at the end of life and Namaste Care seems to help them structure what they try to do as time allows into a seven day a week program.
I would love to hear from you whether you are looking for a speaker, private consultant or just to let me know how your Namaste Care program is blooming! The first newsletter was released in December and I will continue them whenever there is something special to report, so do send me your stories and pictures. You will be identified for your contribution.
So, the journey continues.
Robert Kennedy once said: "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"
Please join me in asking "Why not?"