Impact of Covid-19 on Sheila and her family

In 2019, this family faced a devastating tragedy when Dad died.

Posted on Sunday 01 March 2020 in Press Releases

Case Study – Barnardos Bereavement Service

Sheila and her family

In 2019, this family faced a devastating tragedy when Dad died. Mum Sheila did the best she could supporting each of the children come to terms with their grief. One of the children (aged 11) was receiving play therapy in school, which was a great source of support.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic generated massive upheaval for this family when lockdown restrictions began and they lost much of the support they had been receiving as services were put on hold. Unfortunately, this included the play therapy the 11 year old was attending, as there was no capacity to move onto an online format. This sudden change had a big impact on the child who began feeling great levels of stress as they tried to cope. The lockdown measures also meant that neither Mum nor the children had access to their support networks, such as friends and extended family. Throughout all of this, Mum was also working to secure a needs assessment for the youngest child (aged 3). As you can imagine the family was going through an extreme amount of stress and were in need of additional support to navigate the situations they were facing.

The family ware referred to Barnardos Bereavement Service and project worker, Maria, began working with them on a weekly basis. Initially, these sessions are limited to six, however they were extended as the family required additional support as the Covid-19 restrictions continued. Maria worked remotely with the family unit as a whole, but also provided one-to-one support to the eldest child (aged 15) through zoom, who was under a great deal of pressure. A lot more responsibility had been placed on this child and she supported Mum in the home with day-to-day tasks, and looking after her younger siblings. This meant she was finding little time for herself. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, she was unable to see any of her friends, go out or play sports, all of which would have, in a non-pandemic world, provided a significant outlet for her emotions and helped her work through her grief.

Maria also worked closely with Mum on managing her own grief, and understanding what her children were feeling so she could provide support to them on an on-going basis. Mum also required practical supports around securing a needs assessment for her youngest, an appointment for which was ultimately was set for 2026.

This family was already facing a great deal of stress, sadness and worry after experiencing such a bereavement, but their healing process has without doubt been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Barnardos continues to work closely with this family as they navigate such a difficult period.