Background In the United Kingdom most people with advanced dementia die in care homes. Families judge quality of life and end of life as poor. The Namaste Care programme integrates compassionate nursing care with meaningful activities for people with advanced dementia at the end of their lives. Namaste uses sensory input, touch, music, massage, colour, tastes and scents, to connect with people with advanced dementia. No extra staff or expensive equipment are required.
Aim To establish whether Namaste Care could be implemented in United Kingdom care homes, and whether Namaste can enrich the quality of life of care home residents, families and staff without requiring additional resources.
Method We collaborated in an action research study with five care homes to implement the Namaste Care Programme. We collected quantitative data about residents using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and Doloplus 2 pain assessment scale as primary outcome measures. Qualitative data was gathered from focus groups with care staff and families and interviews with managers.
Results 37 residents were recruited to the study. In care homes with good pain management, Namaste Care was significantly effective in reducing behavioural symptom severity over time. Families, care staff and managers welcomed Namaste. Extra staff and financial resources were not needed to implement the programme.
Conclusion Where there was good leadership and adequate clinical care, the Namaste Care programme supported compassionate care and enhanced quality of life for people with advanced dementia at the end of their lives. No additional resources were required.
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