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Julie looking forward to retirement after 30 years in healthcare sector

Julie Eldem and her new puppy, Teddy

A Kendal woman has retired after nearly 30 years of dedicated care to help people in the community.

Julie Eldem, 64, was a client co-ordinator at Kendal-based Westmorland Homecare, which provides hundreds of hours of care each week, which enable elderly and often frail people to live independently in their own home.

“Julie worked full-time in our reactive scheduling team, co-ordinating our home care assistants’ rotas from Grasmere to Grange-over-Sands and helping to look after people in the community 24 hours a day,” said Dr Chris Moss, one of the directors of Westmorland Homecare.

Julie had to be ready to react at a moment’s notice.

If a home care assistant rang in sick, or their car broke down, Julie had to organise cover so a client was visited as normal.

“Each of our clients is looked after by their own group of carers so if, for example, one of them rang in sick, Julie would do her best to ensure whoever went instead was from that group, rather than sending someone the client did not know,” said Dr Moss.

If a client had to go to hospital at short notice, Julie would contact their relatives and the relevant carers so they were aware and would arrange cover when the client returned home.

“Julie would go beyond the call of duty,” said Dr Moss.

“Once a client rang in the middle of the night. Julie was worried about her and drove 15 miles to go to support the client.”

“And she was still at work again at 8am the following day!” added Amy Cooper, WHC’s head of scheduling.

Julie, 64, who lives in Kendal, started work as a receptionist at a GPs in Barrow in 1993 and then worked evening and night shifts for 10 years for the Furness Emergency Doctor Service, a co-operative which provided out of hours cover to give GPs and their families some relief.

Later she worked for Bay Call, another out of hours GP service provider, where she played a major part in the development of its rota system for GPs, despatchers, nurses, drivers and receptionists.

She then worked for Cumbria Health On Call (CHOC) in a rota administration role.

She joined Westmorland Homecare three years ago.

“It is about helping people,” said Julie. “You always want to treat people the same way that you would want people to treat your family.”

Dr Moss said Julie had a great work ethic and took huge pride in what she did.

He said Westmorland Homecare treated its staff and clients as an extended family and stressed how important it was for those in the caring profession to look after other.

“Julie always showed a caring attitude towards staff, supporting anyone who was ill and looking after them.

“She is a compassionate and wonderful lady – a real inspiration.”

Julie said she was looking forward to doing more gardening and looking after her new puppy, Teddy, during her retirement.

She also had plans to buy a campervan and do some travelling.

Dr Moss added: “We are sad she is going but thrilled for her at the same time.”