Real Life Heroes

Real Life Heroes

Homecare workers hailed ‘true heroes’ for moving in with Covid-19 sufferer

Two big-hearted Northern Ireland homecare workers who moved in with a client after she tested positive for Covid-19 have been hailed as “true heroes”.

Sisters Lauren (24) and Chloe Kelly (22), both Connected Health care assistants, made the decision to temporarily move in with Laura Magee (27) after she tested positive in October.

Lauren also tested positive for the virus and instead of isolating alone, she went above and beyond the call of duty to provide around-the-clock care for Laura.

Lauren’s sister Chloe, who had not contracted Covid-19, then made the brave decision to join her sister. In the days that followed she also became sick, displaying all the key symptoms of coronavirus.

The sisters from Aghanloo, Limavady, made the selfless move in an effort to ensure the continuation of Laura’s homecare and to safeguard their Connected Health care colleagues from unnecessary exposure to Covid-19.

Laura, from Derry’s Waterside, requires 24 hour care and only started receiving homecare in August, having spent long periods in hospital in recent years.

Laura said: “It was so kind for them to come and live with me, leaving their families. I’m really grateful for that. I was terrified about maybe having to go back to hospital. It really meant a lot, and I want to say thank you to them.”

Laura suffered a number of panic attacks as the virus took hold and she was “quite unwell” for a few days, particularly with chest pain. “It was terrifying at times,” she said. At the height of her illness, Laura suffered a seizure brought on by high temperature, resulting in emergency medical assistance being required.

Although infected from a different source, Lauren tested positive on the same day as Laura.

Lauren explained: “I was faced with the facts that Laura needed care and I could not go back to my family – so it was an easy decision really. I have no doubt that someone would have stepped in because that is the nature of care, but it made perfect sense for me to move in with Laura for our period of isolation.

“My sister Chloe had not tested positive, but really wanted to help. She started showing the same symptoms within a few days, so she really did make a big sacrifice. She was actually in isolation for 16 days in all.

“We were all very fatigued during the illness – it was probably on a scale of 8 out of 10 compared with any flu I’ve experienced in the past.

“One night Laura suffered a seizure caused by high temperature. We both administered first aid while the ambulance and rapid response vehicle were on route. Thankfully, she was treated at home and was able to remain there.”

Chloe said: “I wanted to be there for my sister and for Laura, as they both may have needed care due to the virus. As expected, I got sick too within a couple of days. It made me really, really tired. We all had the high temperatures, coughs, and lost our senses of smell and taste.”

Thankfully, all three have now fully recovered and are delighted to be able to get out and about once again.

Lauren said: “I was just dying to see all my clients once again, as was Chloe. We really missed them, as well as our family.”

Laura explained: “It’s great to be able to see my family now and my little niece Priya . . . and the family dog, Roxy, a Pomeranian.”

Both Lauren and Chloe paid tribute to their employers for the support received during the trio’s isolation in Laura’s home at Crescent Link in Derry.

“Connected Health’s support was brilliant. Our managers Eugene and Stephanie visited with lots of shopping, and to bring some arts and crafts activities to help keep our spirits up.”

Eugene Connor, Connected Health Area Manager, commended the two carers for their selfless act.

“Lauren and Chloe really have gone above and beyond in the delivery of care in this instance. They put the client first, as is the Connected Health ethos, but they went even further by placing themselves in harm’s way to deliver excellence in care. The Connected Health team cannot commend them or thank them highly enough. They are shining examples of true heroes working in the care sector.”

He added that Laura’s family were “very relieved” to hear about Lauren and Chloe’s selfless decision.

“Initially the family was very concerned about how they were going to manage to provide the care needed. They were very relieved to hear that not only one, but two carers were moving in for the period of isolation. On the night of Laura’s seizure, the fast actions of Lauren and Chloe served to reassure her family that she was in the safest hands.”