Saint Francis Hospice hosts Namaste Conference
More than 75 healthcare professionals from across Havering and the surrounding boroughs were at Saint Francis Hospice's Pepperell Education Centre to listen to Professor Joyce Simard talk about her widely acclaimed Namaste Care program, which was developed in the US.
There are currently 850,000 people in the UK with dementia and while there is still no cure in sight Joyce, 74, insisted Namaste Care has proven to significantly improve the quality of life for patients with advanced Alzheimer's who can no longer participate in traditional activities.
"You can be the change you wish to see in the world," Joyce told the conference, "we are talking about helping people to live, and not just exist."
During the inspirational presentation Joyce, who was at the hospice as part of a two week tour of the UK, gave examples and demonstrations on how healthcare professionals could introduce the program, which involves stimulating the senses through music, therapeutic touch, colour, food and scents.
Joyce, who has published a book `The Namaste Care Program for People with Dementia`, said the program was originally developed for nursing home residents but it could be used in hospices, residential homes as well as other community care settings and it required no extra staff, equipment or even a designated area.
Lindsay Royan, a consultant Clinical Psychologist with North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), also spoke at the event about the importance of treating dementia patients as individuals and gave an overview of the wide range of services that were available.
The delegates also had the chance to experience a relaxing hand massage from therapists at the hospice.
The event was a great success with the delegates feeling empowered by the information they had received from Joyce, Lindsay and the other speakers.
Ruth Crossley, an end of life care facilitator from Barking and Dagenham (NELFT) said, "I work closely with care homes and memory services.
I knew about this program early on and was asked to spread the word about it because it sounded very exciting. I will certainly be passing on what I have learned today."
Head of Education and event organiser Caroline Scates said "meeting Joyce and hearing about her work has been an incredible experience.
"We are delighted with the positive atmosphere and comments today. Namaste means 'to honour the spirit within` and hearing about how people living with Dementia can experience such benefits has been inspiring'.