Trust launches UK's first Namaste care service

Date: 24 March 2023


Medway NHS Foundation Trust has become the first acute Trust in the UK to introduce a Namaste care service in a hospital setting.

Namaste care is an alternative holistic treatment for patients living with advanced dementia or who are actively dying. It includes physical, sensory and emotional activities and interactions with a loving approach, all of which are designed to create a calm environment and give comfort and pleasure to patients while they are being cared for.

Emily Brown has been appointed as the Trust’s first Namaste Care Practitioner at Medway Maritime Hospital. Her role is to visit wards and provide Namaste care to dementia and end of life (EOL) patients, following a referral from nursing staff, and support family members and members of staff who are caring for the patient too.

The former Clinical Support Worker (CSW) said: “Namaste care means ‘honouring the spirit within’ and its purpose is to help the person feel calm and safe by stimulating their senses and surrounding them with familiar things. For example, when I am with a patient delivering Namaste care, for sound I might play some music they enjoy listening to, for smell it might be me putting their favourite perfume on them, taste could be giving them a drink they enjoy and touch might be a hand message or hot towel shave.

“Before I started working as a CSW for the Trust I had been working as a carer for 13 years. Dementia and EOL are my passion so offering this kind of care is extremely important to me because dementia and end of life patients still have lives, family, passions and dreams. I am proud to be appointed the first Namaste Care Practitioner in the NHS. To be in a job role where I can ease someone’s worry about their hospital stay and help them to feel safe, or help someone to have a good death, or support family members to understand what they can do to help their loved one, is a real honour.”

The Trust’s decision to introduce a Namaste care service followed a successful pilot on Tennyson Ward in 2020, which was instigated by both Emily and the End of Life Care Team with Emily leading on the practical side.

Emily added: “Every Thursday, over a six month period, I would see all the patients on Tennyson Ward that had dementia or were on an EOL care plan and I would assess them before and after a Namaste care session. In 98 per cent of the patients assessed, their mood, pain and overall wellbeing had improved. They were calmer and less likely to wander which meant fewer falls. They ate and drank better meaning their fluid and food intake was good. They were also happy to take their medication.

“All of these things help to provide the patient with a better experience during their stay with us. Importantly it provides quality of life until the end of life for those who are sadly dying.

“As well as benefitting the patient, Namaste care benefits the staff because it brings them closer to the patientsthey’re caring for. To see and be part of giving patients a good experience or a good death is a wonderful feeling and that in turn leads to job satisfaction.”

Jayne Black, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are incredibly proud to be introducing this new model of care in a hospital setting. While our clinical staff ensure our dementia patients and end of life patients get the very best care, Emily is helping us to go one step further in providing holistic care during a very emotional time for both the patient and their family. I truly hope it will inspire other Trusts to look at introducing Namaste care so other patients across the country can benefit too.”

  • Summary:

    Medway NHS Foundation Trust has become the first acute Trust in the UK to introduce a Namaste care service in a hospital setting.