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11 November 2020, 01:00 AM

AAIF Global - The myRyman Life Model of Dementia Care, New Zealand

A talk by Ms Karen Lake
Operations Clinical and Quality Manager, Ryman Healthcare

Speaker expertise

Karen Lake is a registered nurse who has worked in aged care in New Zealand for 30 years and has built a career based on clinical excellence. She is the Operations Clinical and Quality Manager at Ryman Healthcare in Christchurch. Over the last decade, Karen had the responsibility of the clinical and quality oversight for two of New Zealand’s largest retirement village companies, Ryman Healthcare and Oceania Group, and was also instrumental in the development and design of 1CHART an electronic medication management system at Toniq Limited. Since mid-2016, at Ryman Healthcare Karen has been a key member of the team who developed and rolled out Ryman Healthcare’s bespoke digital care system application, myRyman Care. Over the last two years Karen has dedicated herself to creating a new model of dementia care for Ryman Healthcare. The myRyman Life Model of Dementia Care is the result of research; study; interviews with people living with dementia and family members of people living with dementia. Collaboration with dementia care experts in New Zealand and the UK has enabled a wealth of expertise and passion to be incorporated into this innovative model. This strengths based model is based on four core quadrants and 10 ‘elements of happiness’ and is supported by eLearning modules for all staff, residents and family and a new 25, credit, Level 4 Certificate in Person Centred Dementia Care which has been developed by the team in partnership with Otago Polytechnic and is currently under review with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Karen will be talking about this model in the upcoming Hammond Care International Dementia Conference 2020. Karen currently manages the Operations Clinical and Quality team for Ryman Healthcare who support clinical and quality processes within Ryman’s 38 villages throughout New Zealand and Victoria, Australia. She and her team of 24 clinical, quality and education experts innovate, create and implement new initiatives to continually improve the quality of care and quality of life for the 12,000 people residing in Ryman’s retirement villages. Karen has a Bachelor of Nursing from Christchurch Polytechnic, New Zealand and a Diploma in Business Management from Tai Poutini Polytechnic, New Zealand.


The myRyman Life Model of Dementia Care challenges perspectives on dementia commonly held by staff, families and residents and supports people living with dementia to live in the moment, feel kindness, love, security, promoting spontaneity, laughter, and happiness in the moment. The model of care consists of four quadrants and ten elements of happiness and is supported by a Care Companion staffing model; three new assessment tools and a plethora of new education resources. The model was created over a two-year period, in consultation with people living with dementia, people caring for others living with dementia, dementia care specialists and organisations. The model aligns with Ryman’s core philosophy of kindness developing a unique perspective on dementia, equipping the care team with specialised knowledge and skills to provide supportive compassionate care. This programme is being rolled out to 35 Ryman villages through introduction seminars for all staff and relatives, an eLearning interactive support tool and a formal myRyman Life qualification, a 25 credit Level 4 Certificate in Person Centred Dementia Care. The eLearning support tool for all staff, residents and families is designed to increase knowledge and understanding about dementia, provide guidance on supporting a person with dementia to live a full, happy and content life, while supporting the shift from task-based care to experience-based care and from doing to being. The Care Companion staffing model has realised a significant increase in perceived quality of life in the moment and the resident, family and staff satisfaction statistics. Karen will be discussing the journey taken to create the model; the measures of success and the way forward which sees the dementia journey as one to be embraced and lived with a strengths based approach, taking time to pause and appreciate those moments that matter in life.