The aged residential care programme is profiling some of the great work done in the sector. Here we look at Olive Tree Retirement Village's project to deliver education sessions to family and whānau whose loved ones have received a dementia diagnosis. 

Located in Palmerston North, Olive Tree Retirement Village offers independent villas, apartment accommodation, rest home facilities and a secure dementia unit.

In 2016, care services manager Whitney Dench and her colleagues noticed family and whānau of residents in the secure dementia unit often lacked knowledge about their family/whānau member’s condition.

‘We find that people are given a diagnosis of dementia for their loved one, but it is not always explained in a way they understand,’ says Whitney.

‘There can be mixed emotions. Often they don’t know what to talk about or how to deal with their loved one’s challenging behaviours.’

Whitney and the team developed a quality improvement initiative, running fortnightly education sessions for family and whānau, providing easy-to-understand information and empowering families and whānau to positively engage with their loved ones.

The sessions are now being offered to both clinical and kaiāwhina rest home staff including administration, salon and maintenance staff, as well as the wider community such as local police officers, supermarket staff and taxi drivers. The sessions are run by the rest home with support from Alzheimer’s Manawatu, local experts and general practitioners.

Whitney says there has been a significant impact on residents, their family and whānau and the wider community.

This initiative supports the objectives outlined in the proposed draft Dementia Plan for New Zealand 2020–23, currently being consulted on across the sector. Find out more at: www.alzheimers.org.nz/getattachment/Our-voice/Policy-documents-and-submissions/Draft-National-Dementia-Plan-for-New-Zealand-final.pdf.

More information about the education sessions is available in the video below.

Last updated 06/11/2019