A Dublin man whose mother died from Covid-19 ten days ago has thanked the staff at her nursing home for what he said was exemplary care.
Brigid Sreenan died on Easter Saturday after contracting the illness at Craddock House Nursing Home in Naas, Co Kildare.
Her son, Dermot, says the staff at the facility could not have done more to help his family.
"It's like the nurses were at war with this highly contagious disease. I'm going to be eternally grateful to the care home for the level of care that they gave to my Mam. And for being able to facilitate me saying goodbye because it really meant a lot. They are exceptional people."
Brigid Sreenan was 88 years old and had a chronic underlying condition.
"My Mam was quite vivacious and really loved life and was always up for everything. That was the great thing about her. You could ask her to do anything and she would literally do almost anything."
A Dublin man whose mother died from Covid-19 has thanked the staff at her nursing home for what he said was the exemplary care she received pic.twitter.com/YQfGZR0lWz— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 21, 2020
Brigid was diagnosed with Covid-19 on 2 April.
"When the results came back, she said to me on Skype 'I think this thing will finish me'. I said: 'I don't know, it might. You've just got to do the right thing. You've got to fight it and do whatever the nurses ask you to do.' And she did fight it. But she didn't win."
Dermot says he was able to hold his mother's hand and say goodbye to her before she died.
He was supplied with a visor and full protective clothing.
"It was like being in a full Breaking Bad costume with a welder's visor and hair nets. It was very difficult. So I just held her hand and said that she'd been an amazing mother, and that she'd touched many people's lives."
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Brigid's daughter, Geraldine, was unable to leave the US to attend her mother's funeral.
Only 11 people were present for the ten-minute graveside service.
Friends and family were instead asked to wear purple, Brigid's favourite colour.
Dermot says that in life, his mother had gained a "cult following" through photos he had posted of her on social media.
"People tried to mark her passing. On the morning of her funeral, there was a guard of honour leading me out onto the road. And everyone was keeping their distance.
"At Naas, I was able to meet the hearse at the housing estate were I grew up. There was another guard of honour at the house. Some of the neighbours were able to follow the hearse.
"We got people to wear purple so everyone at the funeral wore purple scarves and I wore a purple tie. Then people on Facebook started sending photos of themselves wearing purple."
Dermot and his sister plan to celebrate their mother's life with a special Mass on her anniversary on 11 April next year.
The Irish Hospice Foundation has recommended that anyone receiving end-of-life care should be allowed to have a family member or loved one present before they die.
CEO Sharon Foley says many people and staff in care settings had raised concerns "regarding any person dying alone in a healthcare setting where family/loved ones are not allowed to visit, or be with the person, at end of life.
"There is only one chance to get end-of-life care right and we know that dying alone is hugely problematic both for the dying person and their families - creating a lasting memory of distress for families and no doubt impacting on their bereavement.
"We appreciate hospitals and other care settings, will need to assign staff to training families in the 'donning' and 'doffing' of PPE and that this training and support requires time and resources."
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