Namaste Care Techniques Soothe and CalmBy Seasons | June 03, 2021
Sensory activities help us respect the personhood of aging patients.
Holistic care is a term we hear frequently, as recognition grows around the importance of addressing a patient’s physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being. As patients near the end of their life, it’s important to adapt to their changing needs and to provide the comfort and support that they deserve.
Namaste Care is a program designed by Joyce Simard, MSW, an internationally-recognized dementia expert. The program focuses on creating a calm, soothing environment, and providing comfort care and activities with “an unhurried, loving touch.”¹ While Ms. Simard originally designed the program for individuals with advanced dementia, it quickly proved to be helpful to a variety of different patients who may be experiencing anxiety or simply need some additional support, regardless of diagnosis. Namaste Care often involves bathing, dressing, grooming, hydration, and additional sensory experiences as meaningful activities instead of tasks to check off a list. This creates a more relaxing atmosphere for patients and their families. At the heart of Namaste Care is the patient’s well-being and comfort. Providing it to patients can lead to increased calm and peace.
How Namaste Care helps healthcare professionals and communities
For healthcare professionals providing care in facilities or community members helping families support aging loved ones, Namaste Care can help you support your patients:.
- Making the Patient Comfortable: Whether patients have just moved into a facility, are a long time resident, or are living in their long-term home, with ageing comes many adjustments. Some patients may still be getting used to the fact that they cannot dress or bathe themselves and may dislike that they don’t have control over this part of their routine. They may also experience these daily events as confusing or distressing. Because Namaste Care reframes these activities as something that is unrushed and relaxing, these activities can start to become less tense and stressful for the patient, which can lead to a better relationship between patient and caregivers.
- Easing the Shoulders of Caregivers and Staff: Care providers who are trained in the principles of Namaste Care can give a much-needed break to tired and busy facility staff and caregivers by providing care to eligible patients. Being able to step away from a routine task to take a break or focus on another task can help caregivers avoid burnout.
- Learning More About Patients: The more we know about our patients, the better care we can provide to them. During Namaste Care sessions, we have found that patients may open up and share stories and facts that can help us understand them better. Because of the attentive nature of the care provided, caregivers can also observe what types of touch, sound, and sensations patients may prefer or try to avoid. Hospice professionals offering Namaste Care can share their learned knowledge with the patient’s daily caregivers so that care can be personalized going forward.
What Namaste Care can look like for the patient
Before offering Namaste Care, caregivers learn about the patient’s preferences and dislikes so that the care that is provided can be personalized for them. Talking to family members and the patient’s daily caregivers can provide information that informs the types of care that are provided.
A key part of Namaste Care is personalizing the experience to the individual, and so the care provided looks different for every patient. Namaste Care is provided in a quiet, uninterrupted location and can include:
- Bathing & dressing
- Gentle hand or neck massage
- Aromatherapy via the use of oils, lotions, or candles
- Conversation & spiritual readings
- Playing recordings of relaxing music
- Other activities that the patient or family may identify as soothing
By slowing down and spending intentional and undistracted time with patients, we can ensure that we are respecting the personhood of those we care for. Through Namaste Care, we can make individuals feel loved, seen and affirmed.