Having retired from the NHS in January after 35 years, she selflessly returned to the frontline to answer Matt Hancock’s desperate plea at the peak of the pandemic.
Her dedication saw her put her life on hold to work in Liverpool’s Aintree Hospital as an advanced practitioner, but she caught Covid-19 and pneumonia and then developed pleurisy, leaving her at death’s door.
Her crippling illness left her incapacitated for six weeks. She now faces a new battle – to speak with her mother, who has effectively become imprisoned inside the city’s Kingswood Manor Care Home.
After no physical contact with Teresa Ramejkis since February, no face-to-face contact since March 11 and being forced to communicate through a window 15ft away on a handful of occasions since, the situation has become too much to bear and Sharon is making efforts to have her mother moved.
This week she delivered a mobile phone to the home. But isolated and confused Teresa, who suffers from dementia and turns 89 on Christmas Eve, cannot understand how it works. The phone just rings and rings and is never answered when Sharon calls.
Divorced Sharon, 55, said: “Despite her condition, Mum is very sociable, very funny and just loves chatting to people. This situation is just awful for her.
“The majority of residents have dementia to one degree or another. Mum had a companion called Terry, who she always used to chat to, but he died of Covid in May.
“She doesn’t know he is dead, so we have told her he has gone to Australia to work on the ships.
“I got her the best mobile I could, but she just can’t use it. I must have rung her 10 times yesterday and left messages, but she must not know what on earth it is.
“I am half expecting the next call I receive to tell me to get to the home straight away because she is about to die.
“These people are not living, they are just existing. Before long they are going to be dead. But no one ever asked our parents, or asked us for our opinions, they just locked homes down and have kept everyone out for months.
“This is what makes me angry, welfare and human rights were put to one side.”
Sharon is one of tens of thousands of desperate relatives backing Rights for Residents in their campaign to force the Government to find a way to reunite families before it is too late. Last night their petition had been signed by almost 170,000 people.
Former cleaner and council worker Teresa developed an osteoporotic fracture that left her practically paralysed. She was treated in a frailty unit for three months and returned home, but developed sepsis and was told she had to live in a home. She has been in Kingswood Manor for almost four years.
Fighting back tears, Sharon said: “My mum and her peers are treated like a disposable generation. These are the men and women who got this country back on its feet after the war.We are losing her mentally.The longer she is apart the worse she is getting.
She just can’t understand why I can’t go in to see her, especially as I was a nurse.
“I will take to the grave the guilt of placing my mother in a home.The situation is so bad I have applied to the local authority to get her out and I will look after her myself.
“A social worker told me the decision is made on ‘best interests’, so I have got to demonstrate I can give my mum 24-hour care. I will and the dream is to bring her home for Christmas, so she can be with me on her birthday.”
There are Covid-19 outbreaks and cases in around 60 percent of care homes in Liverpool. This week, in an email to relatives, care home manager James Fox said: “We have received more positive results for staff and residents at Kingswood Manor. We have seen residents present with new symptoms. We have more staff isolating due to symptoms or positive test results.”
A spokesman for Harbour Healthcare, which runs the home, said: “We are following national and local guidelines in relation to visiting, which have recently changed in the Liverpool City region due to the high number of cases. At all times video/telephone calling has been available for residents.”
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are considering plans to allow specific family and friends to visit care homes safely.”