Bereavement support

We provide emotional support to families of babies, children and young people accessing Acorns services, from diagnosis through to end of life and following the death of a child.

An assessment of each family’s needs is undertaken by a family team worker, who is fully qualified with a background in nursing and/or social care. They will then offer and provide pre and post-bereavement support to meet emotional and practical needs of families as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Each family has access to a family team worker to provide psychosocial, emotional and practical support.

Siblings are supported through a specialist sibling service which may take the form of group support, time-limited individual support or a bespoke residential programme.

At end of life, the family will be supported by the whole hospice team. This includes:

  • Advance care planning to prepare for how to deal with the actual reality of bereavement, helping give families choice and control around the end of life of their child
  • One to one or family home visits
  • School visits providing sibling bereavement support and advice and support for teachers
  • An out of hours service is also available 24 hours a day
  • Support via group work and workshops
  • Practical advice and support with funeral arrangements, registering a child’s death, liaising with other agencies and ensuring other family members are informed
  • Access to the special bedroom after the death of a child
  • Encouraging and facilitating memory capturing – this may include photography, building memory boxes or books
  • Inviting and supporting families at memorial events
  • Access to the hospice memorial garden

Practical support offered to families by the family team after a child has died includes:

  • Welfare rights advice. For example, supporting applications to the Social Fund, help with funeral expenses, notifying benefit agencies of changes in family circumstances
  • Enabling families to have choices in caring for their child’s body before burial or cremation. For example, at the hospice, at home or at a funeral home
  • Understanding the types of funeral available. For example, cremation, non-religious burial, woodland burial or burial or cremation abroad
  • Support in notifying professionals, family and friends
  • Support in liaising with employers to negotiate time off work, support and arrangements for return to work
  • Ensuring that brothers and sisters and other extended family members are being supported and have necessary access to specific support groups where necessary

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