*We have cancelled face to face services because most of our clients fall into the group where it is recommended to self-isolate. Instead of this we’re keeping in touch by phone and also working to make sure they can access medication or food. Bereavement services are also being provided by phone*
Bereavement at any time is hard. Bereavement during a period of isolation with restricted movement and limited contact with family and friends is the hardest thing possible.
Please be assured therefore, that our Family Support and Bereavement service is working hard to adapt our services in every way we can to provide the support that so many people will need. We hope that the few thoughts and ideas below will help you to feel less alone and know that people care.
Although you may not be able to see people in person, please reach out to as many people as possible at this time using the phone, text, or internet if it is available to you. Grief is hard at the best of times but grieving in isolation will feel much worse.
Online Support- Did you know that we have an online bereavement support page. You can join the group by searching ‘St Mary’s Hospice bereavement support’ on Facebook or follow the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/685743488298723
Telephone Support- You can also telephone the team on 01229 580305 (Option 6) Messages will be picked up on a daily basis (Monday – Friday) and responded to as quickly as possible.
Look after yourself
Eat well and try to get some fresh air or sunlight each day – also some rest and exercise. If you can’t go out, open a window or do some exercise in your home.
Try to keep to a regular routine
This could be hard but it can make a huge difference keeping to a regular routine of getting up and dressed and eating meals at the usual time
Ask for practical help
Bereavement can be overwhelming at the best of times. Let people know – friends, family or neighbours – what they can do to help. It may be that someone can bring you shopping or a nutritious meal or something else you need or would like.
Protect yourself from further distress
You might find it easier to avoid or limit watching or reading the news at the moment, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed – and to choose to watch on the television something that you are familiar with that you usually enjoy.
Cruse Bereavement Care have also produced some useful information on grief and isolation- https://www.cruse.org.uk/coronavirus/grieving-and-isolation
Family and Bereavement Support Team:
Our specially trained Family and Bereavement Support Team is made up of a Palliative Care Social Worker, Family Support Coordinator and Family & Bereavement Support Worker, along with a team of highly trained and supervised volunteers.
Who is the service for?
Our Support Service is available to anyone over the age of 18 who is experiencing loss, irrespective of time lapsed, cause or relationship. There is also no requirement to have had previous contact with the hospice services
We understand that life-shortening illnesses affect not only the patient, but also their network of family, friends and carers. Our Family and Bereavement Support Service provides psychological, emotional and spiritual support for patients throughout their illness and for their families and carers, leading up to and following bereavement. People may need varying levels of help at any given time, and we respect this, so the support we offer is tailored to meet individual needs wherever possible. We work to support you through all the varied and often confusing feelings you may experience.
What support is available?
We offer a range of different support options including:
One to One Support
Many people find it helpful to talk with someone other than a member of their family or a close friend. After an initial assessment, you will be offered confidential one to one emotional support with a trained and supervised support volunteer by telephone or face to face whichever you prefer. You will be offered up to ten support sessions with dates and times flexible to your needs and availability.
“Having 1-2-1 support has allowed me to open up and talk about my grief because everyday life is busy and gives little time to think and express feelings. I would like to say a big thank you to my Bereavement Support worker who has truly helped me and made me feel comfortable to talk about how I truly feel about losing my mum. It has somehow made it a little easier”
What kinds of things do people talk about?
Different people talk about different things, it depends on their situation. There is no right or wrong subject to talk about. You might wish to talk about how you are feeling: guilt, regret, pain, relief, sadness, happiness and anger are just a few feelings you may experience before or after a death. Talking about them can help reduce their intensity and help you make sense of why you feel the way you do.
Make, Do and Mend Workshop
Our Make, Do and Mend upcycling workshop is based within our Furniture Warehouse at our Living Well Centre at 299 to 301 Duke St, Barrow in Furness.
The workshop provides a chance for bereaved men and women, those caring for their partner or loved one or those living with their own life-shortening illness to come together to share experiences, ideas and enthusiasm , and ultimately, to help each other through loss.
The workshops are held throughout the year on either a Wednesday morning
(9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon) or Wednesday afternoon (13:00 p.m. to 15:30 p.m.)
The workshop offers an opportunity for people to pursue practical interests and projects such as recycling furniture, either as a group or on their own.
“I decided to join the Make, Do and Mend Workshop to learn something new whilst receiving support. It was good to talk to others who were experiencing loss and to know that I wasn’t on my own. There was no expectation for me to talk about my loss. However, I found myself opening up at how I was feeling and also supported others within the group”.
Bereavement Craft Group
Throughout the year we hold 6 week bereavement craft groups at our Living Well Centre at 299 to 301 Duke St, Barrow in Furness. These groups aim to give people the chance to meet people in a similar position to themselves through being creative.
The aims of the craft group are to:
Restore self-esteem and develop a sense of self-worth – Encourage relaxation and minimise anxiety/ stress – Sharpen concentration.
Online Bereavement Group
In July 2017 we set up a closed Facebook page to support people digitally recognising that evenings and weekends can often be the most difficult times. Our online support group provides a safe platform for people to share experiences, ask questions and chat to people who maybe in a similar position and who support each other.
Monthly informal coffee evenings are held for our online group members. These are held in the Orangery café at St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston on the last Thursday of each month. (18:00 p.m. to 19:30 pm.). Some members of our support team will be there to chat with you and answer any questions you may have.
“With the support of the Online Group staff and volunteers at the Hospice. I have found the strength to remember with love rather than sadness”.
Bereavement Support Café
The aim of the bereavement café is to provide a drop-in session for those coping with bereavement. The drop-in is not designed to be a counselling session; it is a supportive environment for reflection and conversation, a place where people will be able to find mutual support and encouragement when they need it most.
The café takes place on the first Friday of each month at the Living Well Centre, Duke Street. Barrow (10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon).
All sessions will be overseen by Hospice staff and volunteers who will be able to offer further advice and guidance.
“I visit the café for some company following the death of my wife. The group are all so welcoming and supportive”.
Our lovely Grange Bereavement Support Group runs every Friday 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Father Magner Room, St Charles Church, Kents Bank Road, Grange-over-Sands offering friendship and support. If you would like to find out more information about this Group please contact the Family Support and Bereavement Team on 01229 580305 option 6.
Support for children
Although we do not directly support children we can support parents and grandparents to support the children in their family circle. We also work very closely with Child Bereavement UK who hold drop-in sessions at St Mary’s Hospice, Family Support Room on the 2nd Thursday of each month (9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)
How do I make contact?
You can refer yourself or a family member (with their consent) by phoning the hospice on
01229 580305 (when prompted select option 6). Ask for the Family Support Team. If you prefer, you can ask another health professional to refer you.
We are also at Barrow Library every Monday morning (10 a.m. to 12 noon)
Please feel free to drop in and see us there.