A life threatening illness can be incredibly difficult to cope with, especially for the family. St Richard’s Hospice understands that the emotional impact extends beyond the individual and so also offers care and support to the whole family.
St Richard’s social workers and counsellors support patients and their loved ones to come to terms with a diagnosis, learn how to make the most of the time they have left and offer bereavement support to the family after the person has died. Support is offered in a variety of ways to meet each individual’s need, with both group work and one to one support available.
Living with a life-threatening illness can cause concerns about relationships, finances and many other practical and emotional issues. St Richard’s Family Support Team comprises of social workers, a CAB adviser, counsellors and children support practitioners who can work with patients and their loved ones to help them adapt and take back some control during a time of confusion and distress. Patients and families are able to talk about their concerns and discuss coping strategies. They also have the opportunity to meet others who are going through something similar.
St Richard’s recognises that carers need to be looked after themselves. The adult carers support groups offer time away from caring responsibilities and space to share thoughts and feelings with others.
Where specialist support is needed to help people deal with the emotional impact of living with a life-threatening illness or bereavement, St Richard’s counsellors, social workers and their volunteers offer patients, their families and friends the space they need to talk through their feelings. The team provides a safe, confidential place to talk and listen to concerns in a non-judgemental, caring and respectful way. Having the opportunity to talk about difficult emotions and fears in a secure environment helps families and individuals learn how to live with the situation they find themselves in.
Children will have different needs depending on their age and development, but all need information, reassurance, and the opportunity to express their feelings at what can be a very difficult and stressful time. St Richard’s specialist team offers support to schools, families and children, offering support and advice on how to give honest information to children in a safe way and how to handle questions about dying.
Children are also given the opportunity to join a group where they meet with others who are going through similar experiences. It can be very helpful to know that they are not the only ones facing such difficulties.
Following bereavement, St Richard’s Hospice continues to offer families compassionate care to help them grieve for their loved one, and this support is available for as long as it is needed.