Claire’s mum, Anna, is living with a rare neurological disorder called Corticobasal Degeneration and has been involved with Willen Hospice since 2017. She’s spent time with our Wellbeing Team, on our Inpatient Unit and with our Willen at Home nurses. But during Covid-19, it was Claire herself who benefited from our care too. “In early 2019 Mum’s condition grew more complex and I felt I wasn’t coping very well looking after her at home on my own. She needed 24hr care and I had to make the heart-wrenching decision to move Mum into a nursing home. A decision which I felt absolutely racked with guilt about. “Before lockdown I’d been visiting twice a day. That had to stop very suddenly and I couldn’t visit her at all. The guilt came back ten-fold then.

I contacted Willen’s social worker Theresa to talk about what I was experiencing and I was offered some specialist counselling with their psychologist Sarah. We used a technique called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and because of social distancing our sessions were held virtually. “I was sceptical at first but it’s lifted a huge weight – to the point where I almost feel like I never suffered with those guilty feelings. Sarah’s shown me how to allow myself more self-compassion rather than beat myself up about not being able to provide the complex care mum needs. Her support has also helped with pre-bereavement grief. Neurological conditions mean that you lose the person you knew and loved slowly rather than suddenly and it often feels like a rollercoaster of emotions to contend with. It’s all helped so much and I’m really grateful for that.”