Ryman Healthcare funds University of Canterbury project
February 13 2014
Ryman Healthcare funds $100,000 University of Canterbury research project
Ryman Healthcare is funding a $100,000 University of Canterbury (UC) research project aimed at improving life for older people.
Robyn Johnston, a PhD student at UC’s School of Health Sciences, will spend the next three years studying the quality of life in Ryman villages, including in-depth research into how its residents feel about their experiences in a retirement village environment.
Ms Johnston has spent the past 36 years in the education sector, working as a teacher and a counsellor. She has a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences and her PhD work will build on her earlier research into how older people cope with transitioning into a new living environment.
Her research will provide an independent assessment of the experience of living in Ryman village. Where residents are assessed as needing extra help, she will survey them to compare their satisfaction levels with assistance provided in-house by Ryman, and the service provided by external healthcare suppliers.
Ms Johnston will also research how residents cope with grief, loss and change. She will help develop practical ways to improve residents’ well-being and also investigate how to encourage inter-generational relationships by working with schools with ties to Ryman’s retirement villages.
“The funding validates my previous research and acknowledges this area is important and needs further study,’’ she said.
“It will allow me to devote the next three years to the research rather than trying to cope with part-time study and working almost fulltime over five or six years. It means I’m able to follow my passion and immerse myself in the research.’’
Ryman’s residents range from people still in the workforce and living independently, to those needing specialist hospital and dementia care. The company’s aim is to make sure all its residents live life to the fullest, no matter what their needs are.
Managing Director Simon Challies said Ryman was happy to support independent research into life in its villages.
“We’re really interested to get Robyn’s view on the way our services work, and in particular, to measure how residents feel we compare with external providers.’’
“We want to use her research to help understand our residents’ needs and how all the work our team does stacks up. We can use Robyn’s research to refine what we do.’’
UC Vice Chancellor Rod Carr said the University of Canterbury had always been proud of the applied nature of much of its academic research.
“Industry partners help shape a wide number of research programmes, not only to ensure their relevance to real world problems, but also to assist in the transfer of knowledge into society.
“When those partners are successful local businesses with international reach, the creative and applied research of our staff and students makes a bigger difference sooner.
“Ryman Healthcare’s engagement with research at UC is further evidence of how a strong, world-class university partnering with business benefits people, businesses and the community,” Dr Carr said.
Ryman Healthcare was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns 26 villages and serves over 7,000 residents in New Zealand, and Ryman is about to open its first village in Melbourne. Each village offers a combination of retirement living and aged care.