Kelly scaled

Recently appointed Caremark Leeds Bradford Care Manager Kelly Cooper brings a wealth of experience to the role – both professionally and personally.

Her 20 years working within the care sector includes a range of roles from one-to-one care support for a quadriplegic person, working in residential care homes and most recently commissioning a new Supported Living facility.

Three of her six children have special needs including cystic fibrosis, autism and ADHD and Kelly herself suffers from arthritis all of which gives her an insight into the pressures clients and their families can face.

“For any job within the care sector the key quality is empathy, understanding the pain clients may be going through and that this can be both physical and mental pain,” said Kelly.

As Care Manager for Caremark Leeds Bradford, Kelly must ensure staff qualifications and the company’s statutory legal requirements are all in place. She oversees quality assurance and will investigate any concerns or complaints to ensure the company delivers the best care possible.

With Caremark recently securing a contract to deliver further care support for local councils, part of Kelly’s role is to recruit sufficient staff to provide a smooth transition for clients.

“Recruitment is probably the greatest challenge the sector faces and as a young person care wasn’t anything I really thought about. Now one of my own daughters is studying Health and Social Care at college so the fact it is on the curriculum can only help,” says Kelly.

“People often have the wrong impression about what care support is about, it’s actually an incredibly rewarding job enabling people to live safely in their own homes with the best possible quality of life.”

Kelly herself worked for seven years in British Gas customer service and has also run her own cleaning and hair salon business. She has found any of the skills she learned in those professions – particularly one to one skills – are transferrable.

“We do need a steady stream of young people entering the profession. In addition, I do feel those with experience of other professions and with some life experience can offer a lot.”

Kely is aware of how expensive care can be for clients or their families on limited budgets and is looking to see how those costs can be brought down.

“If you look at Live-in Care, where a client needs someone with them at all times then multiplying an hourly charge by 24 everyday can quickly become unaffordable,” says Kelly.

“We need Government to do it’s part to support care provision and also we are looking at how we can reduce daily costs perhaps to ten hours if the carer needs to stay at the property but might only be called upon once or twice a night.”

Outside of work, Kelly and her husband Gavin enjoy walking and going on holiday, with New York a particular favourite. She’s planning to visit Ireland for the first time this summer with her mum who is originally from Roscommon.

A firm believer that mental well-being is as important as physical well-being, Kelly is pleased to see a growing awareness across society as a whole of the importance of mental health.

Through creating a “Friends of Caremark” partnership she hopes to combat social isolation through greater community engagement, helping clients to get out of their homes to meet up with friends or access craft and entertainment sessions.

“The one thing I miss as a care manager is that day to day contact with clients, visiting them in their homes and building up that trusting relationship,” says Kelly.

“I think it was through that experience that I recognised how important it is to tackle social isolation and why I am so keen to further develop community engagement for our clients.”

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