2016 Facilities Management in Aged Care Conference

17 May 2016

AE Smith understands the importance of soft skills in FM processes

In April, Ash Carmichael, National Account Manager for AE Smith, gave a presentation regarding the importance of soft skills in facilities maintenance for aged care residents at the Facilities Management in Aged Care Conference (FMAC) 2016.

Addressing an audience of aged care professionals, Ash focused on how essential it is to address the challenges and difficulties faced by staff and contractors when dealing directly with those in a senior living environment, with respect and dignity:

“With thousands of sub-contractors entering aged care facilities every year, there is very little thought given to the soft skills of individual Technicians that provide the work. This, in turn, presents a huge risk to all parties, through the following:

  • A Technician can unknowingly upset a resident, which can have a material impact on the operations of the facility and upon nursing staff (an area that is already under-resourced);
  • An increased safety risk to both contractor and patient, and;
  • The reputational implications of those risks to the contractor and more importantly, to the facility.”

Several years ago, AE Smith created a training program for young AE Smith Service Technicians, broaching areas including dementia, resident behaviour, resident safety issues and communication. AE Smith shares an extensive relationship with Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) in Victoria, who designed the training program for us.

The training process eventually saw 75 Service Technicians participating in this effective national training program to improve culture, safety and reduce risk in senior living facilities.

Responsibility as a service provider

At AE Smith, we have a responsibility to our staff to ensure they can operate confidently and comfortably in their workplace. Capability, confidence and comfort are not only imperatives of safety and productivity, but also of being a good service provider.

A lack of care from service providers can result in risks to both aged care facilities and to our business as a service provider, as Ash outlined:

“The FMAC session sought to highlight those risks presented through our provided examples, and subsequent engagement with LASA, delivery of training, and what that meant to our clients. It was important to demonstrate AE Smith’s willingness to understand our client’s environments and make sure we have the skills, tools and awareness to fully support/help them achieve their objectives (while developing and protecting our own).”

Understanding and then reducing those risks associated is always key to helping our clients, and it helps us identify the right solution to solve the problem.