19th November 2020

Children’s Grief Awareness Week at St Richard’s

It’s Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK (19th – 26th November, 2020), and we’re focusing on the services provided to young people by our Family Support Team.

During the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to help children navigate their grief. Our Family Support Team has found safe ways to be there for children experiencing bereavement.

Whether it’s talking on the phone, reaching out over video call, or empowering parents to support their children – our skilled team continues to care.

How our Family Support Team work with children and young people 

The Family Support Team work with children and young people when a loved one is a patient of St Richard’s, and following a bereavement. They also work with children referred into Bereavement Support South Worcestershire. This is a service for those bereaved by a sudden, traumatic and unexpected death in south Worcestershire.

They work closely with schools, colleges and universities to support staff when a pupil or student is facing loss and bereavement. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the team offered one-to-one support at the hospice, at school, or at home.

How the team has adapted during the pandemic

It was important to find new ways of working during the pandemic so that children and young people could still access support, but safely.

  • The team came up with creative activities that could be used remotely, for example the use of music to express feelings.
  • The team helped parents, via telephone and email, to support their children.
  • Training via Zoom was offered to schools in Worcestershire around Covid-19, grief and loss. The team worked with the other hospices in the north of the county to provide this so that schools across Worcestershire could access the training. Read an article on EHospice about this work.
  • Listed ways children and adults can keep in touch with patients on IPU when they are unable to visit.

Group work

From April 2019 to March 2020 the team provided 26 group sessions for children and young people. The groups include:

  • Waterbugs group for children and their families before the death of a loved one
  • Activity weekends
  • Teenage days
  • Dragonfly group for bereaved children and their families

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, groups cannot run in the usual way. Children and their families have been offered telephone and virtual support. The team have also started to run groups virtually. The first of which was and activity webinar where the families created memory boxes.

One child said: “I really enjoyed the zoom. I found it helpful to meet other children who have gone through the same thing as me. I would like to attend more.”

And another said: “I liked making the memory box together with my mum. We continued to decorate it after the meeting finished.”