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The Story Behind KEO Care

By Kristy O' Connor

I had someone ask me over the new year period why I chose to become a physiotherapist and how my transition from a practitioner to Clinical Director of KEO Care came to be. As we all know, the start of a new year gives us a chance to reflect on the year that has been. As well as reflecting on my own growth and development, I’ve given a lot of thought to the growth of KEO Care over the last year and since its establishment. 

Early life and career

But let’s start from the beginning. From a young age I knew I wanted to work within the health sector and help people. This largely stemmed from the kindness and support I was afforded by the allied health team that cared for me after I was hit by a car as a four-year-old. They helped me find joy in every day despite the challenges I faced during my recovery. After this experience, I knew I wanted to do something that would enable me to have the same positive impact on other peoples’ lives. After finishing school, I was accepted to study physiotherapy at university, however decided to take a year off and train for Iron competitions and work as a personal trainer. I’m the type of person that does things 110%, so I wanted to put everything into these goals. However, this year of work experience and training confirmed my desire to pursue a career in physiotherapy.

Fast-forwarding to my early years as a physiotherapist, I focused on gaining as much exposure and experience in as many different areas as possible to build upon and consolidate my skills. I started in the hospital setting and transitioned to private practice. However, in each of these settings I didn’t feel I was building the connections with clients and colleagues, or seeing the positive impact of long-term goals that I was hoping to build and achieve. It wasn’t until I started working in the community space and as part of a multidisciplinary team that I knew I had found my place. I loved that I could work collaboratively with the client, as well as their team and family, in their own environment to achieve goals they had set.

Starting KEO Care

I built a network of colleagues who were equally as passionate about working closely and holistically with clients and had the expertise to foster the growth and development of other therapists. I saw an opportunity to create a team of people whose values were closely aligned with those I held in esteem as a practitioner; kindness, connection, striving for excellence, and lifelong learning. I knew, together, we had the capacity to build an organisation that could address important issues such as employee wellbeing and participant outcomes, and overall improve the sector. This marked the beginning of KEO Care’s journey.  

Cultivating a supportive culture at KEO Care

Embarking on the path towards leadership with my fellow colleagues has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Transitioning from working primarily as a practitioner to a leader has redefined the way I serve others but has by no means diminished the fulfilment I get from helping others. To me, being a leader means taking responsibility for understanding what motivates the incredible team around me and working in collaboration to fulfil each member’s individual goals. I am honoured to be in a position where I’m able to continue learning from those around me, and I have been blown away by the team’s cultivation of the values I brought to KEO Care from my years as a physiotherapist.

Team members are kind, always happy to help each other across our multiple hubs, and are genuinely interested in hearing about how each other’s weekends went. Genuine connections have been forged between therapists and clients, as well as amongst team members that allow us to understand each other’s needs. These connections are strengthened through additional therapist time spent with clients thanks to administrative support structures in place, and hosting team building days, team breakfasts and coffee clubs to maintain team interconnectedness. To invest in employee wellbeing KEO Care has also introduced flexible working arrangements and additional health and wellbeing days.

Alongside embracing the values of kindness and connection, the KEO Care team is committed to achieving clinical excellence and providing high-quality and holistic evidence-based therapy. Our clinical excellence teams and senior leaders recognise that empowering therapists to work within their scope ensures they are equipped to attain best participant outcomes. Acknowledging the importance of life-long learning, senior members of KEO Care encourage self-directed learning and are always happy to provide support to therapists seeking to diversify their knowledge. Structured supervision and informal support are also always accesible to therapists. Therapists are equally as passionate about continuing their learning and development, and take full advantage of the professional development opportunities available to them year-round under KEO’s clinical education calendar. Most importantly, an environment exists within the organisation where people can feel safe to make mistakes, reflect upon them, and grow.

The commitment and dedication of the team to KEO Care’s values has enabled the organisation to not only work in the community, but to build a community where meaning and fulfillment are a part of everyday life, and a future where everyone leads a vibrant, empowered life. To me, this is what makes KEO Care unique, and why I am so proud to be a part of the KEO team.

About the author

Kristy is the visionary force behind KEO Care, serving as the Clinical Director and founder. With over 15 years of industry experience as a dedicated physiotherapist, Kristy’s journey led her across multiple settings, including hospitals and private practices, before finding her true calling in community and aged care.

At KEO Care, Kristy drives our commitment to clinical excellence, imparting invaluable leadership and guidance. Her passion for forging genuine connections extends beyond her team to encompass a profound understanding of individual goals, nurturing the full potential of her colleagues and ensuring the best outcomes for our participants.

Kristy is passionate about forging genuine connections with her team to wholly understand their goals, foster their full potential, and support them to achieve the best participant outcomes.