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Bereavement support for the whole family, as long as it's needed

A family’s ‘contacts’ and other members of the Care Team are available to provide bereavement support for the whole family for as long as they wish.

We will always be happy to talk with a family about their child and will be in regular contact by phone, particularly in the early weeks following a child’s death.

A family’s contact with the hospice does not end here; we know that for many families the hospice has become a special place. Families will be offered a bereavement stay or visit to the hospice and will be invited back to a Remembering Day and all our usual activities which are open to all families such as the fete and Christmas gatherings.

There is also both a Mothers and Fathers support group, which a parent may wish to join after a period of time which gives the opportunity to gather together and share with other parents who have experienced the loss of a child.

Brothers and sisters often need extra support. Our Sibling Workers are trained to provide support to siblings and help them express their feelings and wishes. They will also keep in contact with them in the future for as long as the children feel they would like.

At Children’s Hospice South West we continue the relationship that we have made with our families, accompanying them on their child’s life journey and continuing alongside them after their child’s death.

During the year we hold various remembrance events for bereaved families. A remembering weekend is held each year for all bereaved families. It is a chance for them to meet up with families they got to know while they were staying with us. Families can develop lasting friendships at these weekends and can offer each other mutual support. There are various activities arranged that families can take part in, which focus on remembering their child, e.g. silk painting, willow weaving, yoga, music therapy as well as lots of delicious meals.

Our care and support for families does not end when their child dies.  All our care team members provide important bereavement care for families for as long as they wish to stay in touch.  Most families never cease staying in touch with us, as the care team have become a second family to them all. 

You helped us for the last five years and through the loss of our son.  We couldn't have gotten through it without you wonderful guys who go above and beyond and still continue to support us.  Thank you, there are not enough words to describe how grateful we will always be.

Starborn

Starborn is a very special room in our hospices. It is here where children can lie after their death, and allows for a very private space for families to say their goodbyes. The room is comforting and peaceful and can be personalised for each child by being filled with their most loved toys, or with their favourite music playing.  

It is overwhelmingly sad when a family watch one of their children die and we are here to support families every step of the way, helping them through bereavement and beyond. Many find this room, where a 'star is born', an important first step in the grieving process.

You helped in making our stays full of memories and after our daughter passed in 2005 you still take the time to send anniversary cards. It's lovely to receive them and you all will always have a special place in our hearts.

Support for as long as it is needed

We stay alongside families, offering support and friendship, throughout their child's life and after death.

On average, most children and families who use CHSW hospices use our service for seven or eight years. This means that the child and family develop a very close relationship with the care team staff. For this reason, after their child's death it is the same care staff who provide bereavement support to the family, for as long as they need it. Bereavement care is tailored to the needs and wishes of the family and many return to our annual Remembering Day or Bereavement Weekend at each hospice. We have also created thriving support groups with parents who draw great comfort from the friendship and support of others who understand what they are going through. Starborn Dads is a support group geared specifically to the needs of fathers, whilst Starborn Mums is a group for mothers. Both groups provide a whole range of activities, but support is also offered between group members through the year.