Primary carer and her husband both test positive for Covid-19

by Gazette Reporter
Debra Ireland

A MUM who is her daughter’s primary carer has told how her worst nightmare came true after she and her husband both tested positive for Covid-19.

Liz Collins looks after her 17-year-old daughter Claudia, who has the painful and debilitating skin condition Recessive Dystrophic EB, is peg-fed and requires routine changing of wound bandages which cover her body from the neck down.

She is pleading for informal family carers to be included in priority lists for the vaccine after both she and her husband Gary contracted coronavirus.

EB, or Epidermolysis bullosa, causes the skin – both inside and out – to blister and wound at the slightest touch and the only treatment is painful bandaging to prevent infection.

Liz caught Covid-19 during the first lockdown last year and was hospitalised with Covid-19 pneumonia, while Gary also contracted it around the same time.

“It was my worst nightmare – I needed someone to care for my child,” said Liz, a parent ambassador and board member of EB charity Debra Ireland.

“Claudia’s team of homecare nurses, who clean her wounds and change her bandages, helped us during that time and as a family. We would not have got through this without them.”

Nurses and PAs attend the family home in Terenure, Dublin, three times a week to deliver bandage care to Claudia, who is in frequent pain.

Liz said: “While professional carers are currently receiving the vaccine, informal family carers are not currently scheduled to get it any sooner than the general population, even though they play a vital role as primary caregivers to people who have very vulnerable immune systems.”

Debra Ireland is calling for the government to outline what priority family carers will be given, and a date for when vaccination will begin.

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