TORU: A cultural model for dementia care in residential aged facilities

Led by Ngā Manukura graduate, Dianna McGregor, RN - the Toru Project has seen students from West Auckland's Kelston Girls' College spend a day a week with the six kuia and kaumatua in a Residential Home and Hospital in Massey. Talking to the manager of the facility, Dianna discovered there were no Māori staff employed by the facility and the manager was concerned the Māori residents’ cultural needs were not being met, in relation to their healthcare requirements.

As part of her role, Dianna visited these kuia and kaumatua regularly and could see the residents enjoyed engaging with young people. She approached Kelston Girls School Principal, Waitemata DHB's planning and funding team; the Operations Manager of the Gerontology Nursing Service and Waitemata DHB Māori Health services, to support the cultural needs of the residents- to give back to the kuia and kaumatua.

Following a period of planning with all stakeholders, Māori students from Kelston Girls College now visit the Māori residents and earn NCEA credits for spending time with them, supporting them culturally. The programme is designed to engage Māori elders in their healthcare and give young people an opportunity to engage with the residents and to learn about the needs of older Māori.

Dianna McGregor was appointed as the Clinical Nurse Director - Māori for the Waitemata DHB in April 2017.