Comfort Care for End of Life
According to the National Institute on Aging, “comfort care is an essential part of medical care at the end of life. It is care that helps or soothes a person who is dying.” When all of the medical needs are met, your care community can offer a unique program of supportive care bringing comfort to those in the end stage of life through sensory stimulation targeting all the senses, which is both calming and soothing.
Our thinking about end-of-life comfort care and our selection of items and products to stimulate and comfort the individual going through this final stage, have been influenced by the writings and lectures of, and by conversations with, Joyce Simard. Her book, The End-of-Life Namaste Care Program for People with Dementia has become a manual for hospice care internationally, and she maintains and exhausting lecture schedule throughout the U.S., Australia, and Europe. Ms. Simard adopted the word namaste to define her caring approach to end-of-life care.
"Namaste" (nǝ mú stày) is derived from Sanskrit and is used as a greeting by Hindus and Buddhists. Literally it means, "I bow to you", or "salutations to you." It signifies the recognition of the spirit or of a divine spark within another person. It is in that spirit of honoring the individual that Joyce Simard has conceived her end-of-life program around the simple statement of philosophy:
We believe that the spirit in each person lives regardless of their physical and cognitive status and that it is possible to nurture this spirit in each individual through loving touch and meaningful activities. This spirit thrives when residents are in the presence of others
She selected the word "namaste" to describe a program "that brings honor to people who can no longer tell us who they are or who they were or care for themselves without assistance."
The namaste program describes how with few resources and training, your care community can create a special hospice care program. Joyce offers “step-by-step” advice for staffing, budgeting, and marketing a program along with detailed information for creating a Namaste Care room, wing, or alternative options for facilities with limited space. It is written for care communities, but Joyce Simard's suggestions could easily be implemented at home.