Ryman Healthcare has developed a new NZQA-recognised certificate for team members caring for residents living with dementia.
The micro-credential online learning programme is a key part of the myRyman Life Model of Dementia Care and has been written by the Ryman Healthcare team who have collaborated with Otago Polytechnic to deliver it.
Mandi Smith, Clinical Nurse Educator at Ryman Healthcare, said the aim of getting special care staff to complete the course was to ensure the quality of care that Ryman delivers was the best it could be, and the first 13 who had signed up were true Ryman pioneers.
“This is real trailblazing stuff!” said Mandi.
“By providing the opportunity for our team members to engage in a bespoke dementia care education programme, that is aligned with current best thinking around working with individuals who are living with dementia, it means that we can not only provide really high quality, individualised dementia care for our residents, but also greater job satisfaction for our staff and the relationships they have with the people they are caring for.”
The NZQA Level 4 micro-credential, once completed, will be added to the learners’ record of achievement.
Ryman Operations Clinical and Quality Manager Karen Lake said this was significant for both Ryman Healthcare and the team members directly involved.
“It is a big deal that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority has endorsed the programme.
“Overall this means that it meets the requirements for Aged Related Residential Care, under our contracts with the various District Health Boards at the same time as enabling us to provide meaningful, high quality education to support our residents living with dementia.”
The 16-week course is divided into the four quadrants already outlined in the myRyman Life eLearning tool – Demystifying Dementia, Destressing the Environment, Quality of Life, and Making Sense of My World.
The micro-credential is based on current research and focuses on creating happiness in the moment for people living with dementia.
“By focusing on relationships, team members will learn how to apply a strengths-based approach to care and subsequently, reduce episodes of distress, improve well being and the overall quality of life for the people they support,” Mandi said.
“People usually come into this sector because they care and they want to make a difference to people’s lives,” said Mandi.
“And this is going to make a huge difference to the lives of the people we support.”
Some of the micro-credential pioneers gather on Zoom to discuss the programme launch.
Raju Lama, a caregiver at William Sanders Retirement Village, was looking forward to the learnings he would gain from taking the course.
“I take learning as an ongoing process and have a positive attitude towards it.
“I hope this course will expand my horizon on understanding dementia health conditions and helping our residents living with it.”
Raju said he expected the course would develop his awareness in recognising the particular support a resident might need as well as the skills to use to meet those needs.
Raju’s colleague and Special Care Unit Coordinator, Snap Venturanza, was equally positive about embarking on the new course.
“I am excited to be part of the pilot team that will be taking this course. This will give me the opportunity to gain more knowledge and skills in person-centred dementia care and will also benefit out William Sanders care companions.
“The training will give us meaningful experience that will positively contribute to the quality of care we provide,” she said.