A meaningful approach
Shalom Namaste Care program is providing comfort for
those with end-of-life dementia
ince Shalom Village adopted
an innovative new program for
residents with dementia who are
at the end-of-life stage, the Hamilton
long-term care home has seen quality of life improve.
Launched in January, the Namaste
Care program was created by American social worker and dementia-care
specialist Joyce Simard to provide
meaningful programming for people
with dementia. Simard visited the
nonprofit home in January to provide
staff training and give a public lecture
on Namaste Care.
The program is run in a private room
at the home, which is filled with sensory objects, books, sports memorabilia and a TV showing calming videos.
Residents involved with the program
receive stimulating interaction that
includes hand and foot massages,
facials and having their hair gently
combed. Each resident involved with
the program has their own basket
that contains lotions, oils, nail clippers
LONG TERM CARE TODAY
The room also has aromatic
fragrances that stimulate the sense
of smell. There is even a small waterfall that produces a calming sound.
Food and drink are offered during the
program, which runs daily from 9:30
a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Namaste
Care Program can also be divided into
morning and afternoon sessions for
those residents who may not tolerate
the full four-hour program.
Namaste Care, which has also been
incorporated into Shalom palliative care program, is being offered in
partnership with McMaster University.
Nursing Professor Dr. Sharon
Kaasalainen is conducting a study to
examine Namaste impact on
people, specifically to discover if it
is successful in calming aggressive
behaviours and reducing the administration of psychotropic medications.
Shalom Village is the first Canadian
long-term care home to adopt the
Namaste Care program.
The primary group of residents it
serves is those who have been
diagnosed with having six months or
less to live or have end-stage
dementia, says Adrienne Shorten,
Executive Coach in Resident Care at
residents are in the room,
everything is focused on one-to-one
program is very much focused
on individual likes and
quality of life. These are residents that
cannot participate in other programming, so with this program they are
The Namaste Care program incorporates staff members from many
departments, as well as volunteers.
Housekeeping staff assist by portering residents to the room. Personal
support workers, music therapists
and recreation therapists help with
programming inside the room.
a very interdisciplinary