The Namaste Care Intervention UK Community of Practice – What is it and why might I want to join it?

As part of a research project we are currently undertaking around the implementation of Namaste Care in the UK, we have developed an online ‘Community of Practice’. We realise that a lot of people won’t know what this is, and even people who are already part of it might not really know how they can use it fully to get the most out of it, so we’ve put together a few bits of information that might be helpful.

What is a Community of Practice?

Put simply, a Community of Practice is “a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”[1]. Basically, it’s people with a common interest and a desire to improve. We’re just providing a safe place to enable that group of people to come together and share ideas.

By making the Community of Practice online it should make it easier for people in different parts of the country (or maybe even different countries) to connect with each other. It should also provide a quick and easy way to stay in touch with each other.

What is Namaste Care?

Namaste Care is an approach with multiple components that aim to improve quality of life for people with advanced dementia. It combines physical, sensory and emotional interventions such as hand massage, music, nature, hair brushing, aromas, lighting, soft blankets, food and drink. It was developed by US practitioner Joyce Simard who recommends delivering Namaste Care sessions twice a day, seven days a week. We are currently researching different ways of implementing Namaste Care in UK care homes, seeing what works well and where difficulties are encountered.

What is the purpose or goal of the Namaste Care Intervention UK Community of Practice?

By developing the Namaste Care Intervention UK Community of Practice we hope to develop an online community where people who are delivering or are interested in Namaste Care can share ideas, raise any difficulties they may have, and receive support from other people in the same situation.

The aim is to have an active community that is driven by the members, rather than relying on us as its creators to keep starting discussions or posting information. The Community of Practice will only become really useful when everyone gets involved. We will of course still be involved, and will share any Namaste-related developments as they arise including our quarterly newsletters, useful tips and articles.

How can people use it?

There are lots of ways that people can be part of the Namaste Care Intervention UK Community of Practice, it’s just a question of what you want to get out of it.

  • If you’ve tried something in a Namaste session and it worked really well, why not tell people about it on the Community of Practice? It might inspire other people to try something similar.
  • If something didn’t go as well as you’d hoped but you’re not sure why, someone else on the Community of Practice might be able to offer some advice or suggest ways you could adapt what you did.
  • If you’ve found a great new item that could be used during a Namaste session, or notice that something is on sale, let people know so that they can stock up!
  • Maybe you’re just venturing into the world of Namaste Care and want to get a better feel for what it involves. You might just want to have a bit of a look for now and get a few ideas to help you start planning your own sessions. Why not ask a few questions of things you’re not sure about and see what other people say. They’ve all gone through the same process of getting things started, so don’t worry if you think you’re asking something really obvious.

Are there any rules I need to be aware of?

As you might be sharing examples of practice and possibly photos of your work, you should abide by your own organisation’s confidentiality policy. If in doubt, it’s probably best not to post something until you’ve checked with someone else and got any necessary permissions.

Not to sound too official, but we will also be able to monitor posts and remove any that we feel are inappropriate to the conversations of tone of the group. This Community of Practice is designed specifically for Namaste Care, so if you want to have other conversations with any other members please do this outside of the Community of Practice.

How can people join it?

All you’ve got to do is go to www.adscommunities.ning.com and click on the bit that says ‘Click here to join’. Once you’ve put in your email and created a password you can create an account and tell us that you want to be part of the Namaste Care Intervention UK Community of Practice. We’ll approve you, and you’ll be ready to go!

[1] https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html

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