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 becoming 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.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Julie Nevett before she became a carer for her husband RobJulie Nevett before she became a carer for her husband Rob (Image: Saint Francis Hospice)

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 February 10 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 bedridden and needs oxygen 24/7.

The hardest part is that I have not got the person I married. Rob was very independent. He used to do everything for himself.

There has been some light at the end of the tunnel; Rob can walk with the help of a frame to the kitchen but it takes him 10 minutes.

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

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.

I was speaking with Zainub and she was incredible. She made me realise that although Rob is very poorly, I have to look after myself.

The nurses ring us regularly and even though we don’t need nursing support now, it is so nice to know they are there.