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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