04:03am Monday 20 January 2020

The power of touch for people with dementia

University of Western Sydney (UWS) researcher Esther Chang will explain how the Namaste Care Program can be implemented in aged care facilities, or in the home, during a free public lecture at the University of Wollongong on Tuesday 23 October 2012.

The lecture, Avoiding High Tech Through High Touch in Advanced Dementia: The Namaste Care Program, is presented by the NSW/ACT Dementia Training Study Centre (DTSC), at the UOW.

The Namaste Care Program is based on providing loving touch and meaningful activities for residents of aged care facilities with end stage dementia or other terminal illnesses, says Professor Chang, who is director of research at the UWS School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Namaste care uses colour, music, pleasant smells and a high level of physical contact between carers and people with dementia during daily routines to bring comfort and pleasure.

Professor Chang has conducted the world’s first clinical evaluation of the Namaste Care Program, which was developed in the United States in 2004. The trial, funded through the Australian Department of Health and Ageing, was conducted in six aged care facilities during 2010 and 2011.

 The results show that Namaste does improve quality of life for people with advanced dementia, Professor Chang says. Namaste is a Hindu term meaning “to honour the spirit within”.

During her lecture, Professor Chang will discuss the results of the trial and demonstrate how carers can implement the Namaste Program, which costs little or nothing to introduce.

“The high-touch protocol honours and respects the person dying from dementia while maintaining them comfortably in a residential facility,” says Professor Chang.

“It’s very sad that in residential aged care facilities, people with advanced dementia are often by themselves for long periods with no quality of life.”

Dementia is a highly debilitating, life-limiting disease that will affect almost 1 million Australian by 2050. Australia’s health ministers this year made it a National Health Priority Area.

Event details:  Avoiding High Tech Through High Touch in Advanced Dementia: The Namaste Care Program, presented by Professor Esther Chang, University of Western Sydney director of research, School of Nursing and Midwifery

Tuesday, 23 October 2012, 6pm-7pm,

Lecture Theatre, Building 28, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong

To register please send an email to dementia@uow.edu.au

For more information contact the DTSC on 4221 5927.

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