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World’s first hospital-based namaste care practitioner shortlisted for Hospital Hero award

A hospital worker who uses a unique method to treat patients in need has become one of five healthcare professionals to be shortlisted for special recognition.

Emily Brown is in the running to win the Hospital Hero category in Medway Maritime’s Star Awards.

Namaste Care practitioner, Emily Brown
Namaste Care practitioner, Emily Brown

She is the world’s first hospital-based namaste care practitioner - which means she uses alternative therapy to relax people.

The 33-year-old works with end-of-life and dementia patients and also helps family members who are struggling with grief.

She became a permanent practitioner last year following a sixth-month trial of the role during the first wave of Covid in 2020.

She said: “I’m not medically trained

“But what I do offer is emotional support and that doesn’t just go to the patient but the relatives.”

Often when going to see an end-of-life patient, she says bed barriers will be up and family members will be by them.

She begins her sessions with introducing herself and explaining what she does, before asking relatives: “Is that something mum would like?”

“I’ll then say hi to the patient, hold their hand and start giving them a hand massage because it’s all about human contact.

“By the time I’ve left the room and ended the session, the bed guards are down, the family are on the bed, holding hands with mum - and they’re laughing about what a wonderful mother she was.

“That breaks down the barrier - it gives the patient a ‘great’ death and the family a ‘great’ experience with their loved ones.”

The five Hospital Hero finalists at Medway Maritime Hospital
The five Hospital Hero finalists at Medway Maritime Hospital

But it’s not just end-of-life patients Emily sees – she also cares for those with dementia, learning disabilities, cancer and those receiving palliative care.

She said: “With our dementia patients in the hospitals, it’s really easy for them to withdraw because it’s so busy and unfamiliar, so that’s the way they cope.”

She uses methods to stimulate the senses of different sounds, tastes, smells and touch to trigger familiar memories.

As a result, she finds patients are often less irritated, don’t wander as much and have an increased fluid intake.

The Gillingham resident says being recognised for the impact of her work “means the world”.

KentOnline sponsors Medway hospital's hero award
KentOnline sponsors Medway hospital's hero award

She said: “I got really emotional when I got nominated because it’s such a new role so any recognition is great recognition – I’m really really grateful.”

Her goal is to one day have her own team of practitioners at Medway Maritime: “Once it’s embedded here, I want namaste care as a standard practice in every NHS hospital.”

We will be publishing details of the other nominees over the next month, with the winner announced at a special ceremony on June 13.

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