KATE Garraway’s husband Derek Draper is a "medical first" – and doctors hope his mental health will boost his strength to recover.
The Good Morning Britain presenter and their children, 15-year-old Darcey and son Billy, 11, cried tears of joy as Derek returned home this week after a year in hospital.
Derek, 53, has been taken off all machines but will continue to receive round-the-clock care at the family’s adapted property in North London.
Kate has been warned that he still faces a “long and gruelling” fight to full health – but is thrilled experts decided he could continue his recovery at home.
Last night a family friend told The Sun: “The professional medical teams who have been looking after Derek have decided to release him from hospital into 24-hour care at home.
“They noticed that his cognition and consciousness had stalled and, if anything, was going backwards over the last couple of months.
“Even though the doctors and nurses have done an incredible job, necessary Covid restrictions have meant visits from Kate and access to wider therapy have been very limited.
“Derek is a unique case. The medical experts are now looking at unique ways to give Derek every chance of making the best recovery, and agree that being surrounded by his wife Kate and their two children, is vital to reaching that goal.
“The hope is that by boosting his mental health — which being surrounded by his loved ones clearly will do — Derek’s physical health will be significantly bolstered too.
“Kate has been dreaming of this day for so long, and she can’t thank the wonderful NHS staff enough.
"They have all been magnificent to get Derek to this point.
“He still has a very long way to go, and medically they’re taking this a day at a time under strict medical supervision.
“But, unquestionably, this is the start of a whole new chapter for the family.
“After the hell they’ve been through, the family truly deserve this bit of hope and happiness.”
Former political spin doctor-turned-psychologist Derek has been confirmed as Britain’s longest surviving Covid hospital patient.
He was admitted with breathing difficulties on March 30 last year.
After being put on a ventilator, he spent months in a form of coma called PDOC — Prolonged Disorder of Consciousness.
In October, Derek uttered his first word — which heartbreakingly was “pain” — to express his discomfort.
Kate appeared on Good Morning Britain this morning to update viewers on his condition.
“He is responding all the time," she said.
"What he’s not able to do is talk and say, like you might imagine Derek might say on coming home, ‘Why the hell is the place such a mess?’. It’s not like that.
"But he’s absolutely responding and aware where he is."
She also revealed the emotional moment she lay four places at the table to serve Derek his favourite meal after coming home.
Kate cried as she recalled being able to enjoy a family dinner on his second night out of hospital.
"There’s just been so many lovely little moments," said Kate.
"I’ve been saying to him all the time in the coma, ‘When you get home you can have one of my casseroles’, which he loves by the way, that’s not a threat, because he can swallow a bit now.
"So I said let’s see if we can get you round a table somehow with the four of us, so we sort of managed to do that.
"As I was laying out the plates I realised I was laying out the plates for four… makes me cry now.
"Darcey was saying, ‘You’re going to put four spoons down’. I don’t know, it feels like the start of a huge chapter but a really, really big and important one.”
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