Why did you decide to take on the role of driving our national Equipment condition surveys?
When I first saw the role come up, I thought it sounded like an exciting new challenge. I was a technician for Sky TV and then worked as a provincial manager for them for 27 years, so I wanted to have a role where I could still interact with a diverse range of people. From what I read and researched about Cubro, everyone had positive things to say about the company and people. Working for a team that shares the same values is something that’s important to me and Cubro is a good fit.
What’s involved in an Equipment condition survey?
We go into an Aged Care facility and access the equipment into each room. We grade the equipment grade from one to six — one is brand new in the bag, while equipment graded six is dangerous and needs to be replaced as soon as possible. We look for things like age, condition, and wear and tear. We also test if everything is functioning properly and find out how well the equipment is being maintained. It’s not always glamorous — we get right under beds and up close to mattresses. We use a handy app to ensure everything we assess is documented and images are taken. After we’ve completed the assessment, we produce a report that goes to the facility manager and Head Office or Board if required.
Do you only access equipment supplied by Cubro?
No. We look at all the equipment in a room. At the end of the day, we don’t care if other companies have supplied equipment; we only care that it’s safe and fit for use.
Aged care facilities are busy places. How do you make the process easy for care teams?
I don’t get in the way. I liaise directly with facility managers and clinical teams to work out what works for them. All I need is a map and an understanding of what rooms to avoid, like a palliative care resident or someone in isolation.
Entering residents’ rooms to check the condition of equipment doesn’t sound like it would be everyone’s cup of tea. How are you finding it?
I think you have to really enjoy interacting and engaging with the elderly. Although I haven’t worked in the Aged Care sector before, I spent quite a bit of time in a residence in Gisborne where my best friend’s parents live. They’ve been there several years now — one has dementia and the other suffered a stroke. We’re very close (they are like second parents to me), and I visited them every day for years when I lived in Gisborne. I still try and get over there as often as I can. Through this experience, I gained some valuable insights into how care teams operate and learned how to interact with people who are vulnerable.
How do you ensure residents feel at ease?
I get that people might be frightened at the thought of someone going into their rooms, so I am very careful to treat everyone as an individual and respect their wishes. A resident’s room is essentially their home, so I always knock and clearly introduce myself before entering a room. And I never assume there’s no one home. I’m happy to work around the residents. If they’re sleeping or having a rest, I’ll simply circle back to their room later in the day. It’s their home, so it’s essential we engage with them on their terms. Having a sense of humour is hugely important and it also helps to put residents at ease.
Have there been any memorable moments so far?
Yes, many. One that sticks out in my mind is meeting an Eastern European gentleman who wasn’t happy with the way I made his bed. I always joke with people that I don’t make the beds quite as well as the care teams, however, this gentleman was adamant that I come back and make it properly. I had three or four goes at it, however I still didn’t make it quite to his liking. Eventually, he asked me to leave!
What have you learned?
Aged Care teams do such good work and it’s hard work. Looking after residents is their number one priority. As everyone is so busy on the ground, it’s easy to miss things.At times I’ve been taken aback by the state of some equipment. If we find anything that is a grade six or presents a risk, I make sure the managers are aware of it so they can make an informed decision. Compliance, health, and safety are becoming increasingly important across every industry, and to me, care teams simply don’t have the time to proactively check equipment. They also don’t really know what to look for as they are experts in care — not equipment. That’s where we come in. The way I see it, it’s our job to ensure that everything in a room is safe, functional and presentable. If it’s not then it presents a risk to a facility and to residents and no one wants that.
What do you love most about what you do?
I look forward to coming to work every day and engaging with different care teams and residents. They all have colourful stories which keep me on my toes. It also helps that the team at Cubro is supportive of the work we’re doing. Even though I’m offsite a lot, there’s comfort in knowing you’re backed by a team of people who really care about making a difference. It’s their home, so it’s essential we engage with them on their terms. Having a sense of humour is hugely important and it also helps to put residents at ease.
If you would like to find out more about our equipment condition survey service, please get in touch with Jaime Abercrombie or Ashley Currie.