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COVID-19 caused me to become my husband's carer

Julie Nevett was cared for by her husband until their roles were reversed when he contracted COVID-19 last year

Julie Nevett before she became a carer (cropped)

Rob Nevett, 81, caught Covid-19 while in hospital and it left him needing round the clock care. Here his wife Julie, 58, shares her story about how she went from being cared for to being a full-time carer.

My husband Rob and I used to do everything together. He never used to sit still. He’d been living with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) for 13 years but he was a fit man and was always on the go.

I suffer from severe back problems and I have arthritis in my knees, hands and feet and Rob was actually my carer. But this all changed when Rob caught Covid-19. Now our roles have completely changed and it has been really hard for both of us. I have gone from being the one who was looked after to being Rob’s carer.


2020 changed everything

Towards the end of 2020, Rob suffered a few bad breathing spells and was admitted to hospital. Unfortunately, it was during his stay in hospital that he caught Covid-19. One of his lungs had already been damaged by COPD but the other lung was severely affected by the virus so it only has a third of its normal capacity.

Rob was discharged from hospital on 10th February and it has been such a shock for the whole family. He has gone from being someone who is always doing something to someone who is bed ridden and needs oxygen 24/7. I know I am doing a lot of running around but the hardest part is that I have not got the person I married.

Rob was very independent. He used to do everything for himself. Before this, he had been making me garden furniture.
There has been some light at the end of the tunnel as Rob is now able to get up and he can walk with the help of a frame to the kitchen but it takes him 10 minutes to go from one room to the next.


Adapting to the new normal

We’ve spoken with doctors at the hospital and although there has been some improvement, Rob is expected to remain on oxygen all the time.

I never realised that being a carer was so full on and I am so grateful for all the care and support we receive.

I know we are very lucky because our two sons, their girlfriends and our god daughter are absolutely wonderful. They will come around at the drop of a hat to help with anything we need and we have great neighbours.


Supported by the Hospice

Emotionally it has been very difficult for both of us too and the support we have received from Saint Francis Hospice has been great. Rob still gets very upset because he can’t do the things he used to. He speaks to Briony from the Hospice’s Family Support Team and that really helps him.

Up until recently, I was speaking with Zainub, who was on a placement with the Family Support Team and she was incredible. She made me realise that although Rob is very poorly, I have to look after myself. When you hear it from someone outside your family, it is completely different and it means a lot to know I can just get in touch if I need to speak to someone again.

The nurses from the Hospice ring us regularly and even though we don’t need nursing support now, it is so nice to know they are there and at the end of the phone.


Ways you can support

To help us continue to support people like Rob, and family members like Julie, consider donating to our Spring Appeal. Click here to make a one-off or regular donation.