Nicola Kendall

ARC PhD Student

Host university: Durham University

PhD research project: ‘Does Namaste Care improve wellbeing?  Investigating the potential to validate the reported observable outcomes of Namaste Care by measuring biological, physiological and behavioural responses to the intervention; a mixed method study’

Project Summary

Namaste Care was developed to meet the needs of people living with the later stages of dementia. Reported outcomes are based on observation of caregivers and seem to indicate that Namaste Care improves mood, decreases agitation, and has physical benefits such as reduced urine and chest infections. The person with advanced dementia is not able to express how they feel however, and so an exploration of objective ways to measure wellbeing which allow the person with dementia to directly indicate how they feel, would inform the health and social care professions about this potentially valuable intervention.

What is this project about?

This project is about social justice and health inequality. Access to Namaste Care is patchy across the country and it is not yet included in NICE guidelines.

What is the aim of this project?

This project seeks to provide objective information about the effects of Namaste Care for the person living with dementia, and the Namaste Caregiver. This information will help to inform national policy guidance.

Who will benefit from this project?

People living with dementia, their carers and health and social care services.

Background and research interests

Nicola was project lead at St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham for 5 years, leading a team of trained volunteers who delivered Namaste Care to people in their own homes. The Hospice team was awarded ‘Best Dementia Team 2019’ in the Dementia Care Awards for this innovative and low-cost approach. Nicola is a qualified psychotherapist, Mindfulness teacher and complementary therapist with a passion for ‘doing with, not doing to.’ Her research interests are in the areas of dementia, palliative care and mental health.

Expected PhD completion date: 2024