We provide emotional support to families of babies, children, young people and their families 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 siblings 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 bereavement support to siblings and advice and support for teachers
- An out of hours service is also available 24 hours a day
- Support to extended family such as grandparents
- 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
Our Family Team Workers are there in times of grief, to assist in practical matters and give specialist, individual support. Our aim is to help families come to terms with their loss, pick up the pieces and begin to build resilience to face the every-day.
Read more about their work here
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
- Support in registering your child’s death or making arrangements to move your child’s body
- Contacting funeral directors and organising burial or cremation within 24 hours where necessary
- Enabling families to have choices in caring for their child’s body before burial or cremation and help with washing your child. 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 family members are being supported and have necessary access to specific support groups where necessary
- Our Daisy Chain Tribute Funds are something special for families of children who have been cared for at Acorns. They don’t cost anything to open and they are a special way for you, your family and friends to pay lasting tribute to your child's life after they have passed away.
For more information or to open a Daisy Chain Tribute Fund please call 01564 825017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively please contact your family team worker.
Shania's story: "I didn't know what to expect from the Acorns bereavement group, but it was good to talk to people who had been through the same things. It cushioned the blow and you know it's not just you. It helped me get on in life and helped me keep my sanity" - Daniel, Shania's Dad
Read more about Shanina's story here