7 September 2016
The quality of life for people with advanced dementia could be improved through a £500,000 research project.

The two year Namaste Care programme aims to make a difference to the care of people dying with advanced dementia in care homes by personalising care.

A structured approach to care, provided by the usual staff, engages the individual’s senses, offering meaningful activities that reflect their interests.

Lead researcher Professor Katherine Froggatt said: “Depending on the individual, they may benefit from calming down and relaxing activities or interaction that provides stimulation. It’s very much about seeing what works for each person.”

This personalised approach could include sensory activities like hand massage, tasty treats and drinks, and handling items relevant to the person’s previous interests like balls of wool if they enjoyed knitting. 

This preliminary study will be undertaken in eight care homes where eight people with advanced dementia will be recruited in each one.

Six care homes will deliver Namaste care and two will continue to deliver their usual care, and the difference will be assessed using tools to measure: quality of dying, quality of life, sleep and activity, behavioural symptoms, pain, infections and use of clinical services.

Family and staff will also be asked to assess satisfaction and experiences of care.

If successful, this preliminary study will move to a full trial in two years.