Acceptability of Namaste Care for patients with advanced dementia being cared for in an acute hospital setting

Kimberley St John, Jonathan Koffman

  • Abstract

    Background Despite a quarter of acute hospital beds being occupied by people with dementia, many hospitals lack appropriate services to meet their holistic needs. Namaste Care is a sensory programme that has been developed to meet the spiritual needs of people in the more advanced stages of dementia. It has been implemented successfully in care homes but it is not known whether it is an appropriate service for the acute hospital setting. Aim To explore whether Namaste Care is an acceptable and effective service for people with advanced dementia being cared for in a busy inner-city teaching hospital. Methods This was an exploratory qualitative interview study. Individual, semistructured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with hospital healthcare staff working in an area of the hospital where Namaste Care had been implemented. Data were analysed using the framework approach. Results Eight interviews were completed with members of the multidisciplinary ward team. Two main themes emerged, with associated subthemes: (1) difficulties establishing relationships with people with dementia in hospital (subthemes: lack of time and resources, lack of confidence leading to fear and anxiety); (2) the benefits of a Namaste Care service in an acute hospital setting (subthemes: a reduction in agitated behaviour; connecting and communicating with patients with dementia using the senses; a way of showing people with dementia they are cared for and valued). Conclusions This small-scale study indicates that Namaste Case has the potential to improve the quality of life of people with advanced dementia being cared for in an acute hospital setting. However, further research is required to explore more specifically its benefits in terms of improved symptom management and well-being of people with dementia on acute hospital wards.

  • Contributors

    Kimberley St John, Jonathan Koffman


    Correct at article publish date

    1 Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care, Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
    2 Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care and Sub Dean for Postgraduate Teaching in the School of Medicine, Cicely Saunders Institute, King's College London, London, UK

    Author notes

    Correspondence to Kimberley St John,

    Original publishing information

    • Publisher: St Christopher's Hospice
    • Publish date: 01/11/2015
    • ePub Date: 02/11/2015
    • Volume: 5
    • Issue: 1

    Permissions: Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

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