Family and Bereavement Support

Family and Bereavement Support Team:

Our specially trained Family & 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?

We understand that life-shortening illnesses affect not only the patient, but also their network of family, friends and carers. Our Family & 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.

We understand that 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 is spirituality, and how can you help?

Our spirituality is individual to each of us – it is about “who we are” and what makes life meaningful to us. This may relate to our faith or belief systems but not necessarily so as you don’t need to have a faith to be spiritual. Our past and future experiences throughout life all help shape “who we are”, they inform our values and give meaning to our lives.

When your world has been turned upside down, we can help you to rediscover your equilibrium, find some solace and/or be supportive in a way that is meaningful to you.

Our Family Support Service

Our Family Support Service provides psychological, emotional and spiritual support for patients throughout their illness and for families and carers facing loss and bereavement.
At the Hospice we understand that life-shortening illnesses affect not only the patient, but also their network of family, friends and carers. With this in mind, the care we provide is extended to include these key people as well as to the patient, offering support and help during what can be a difficult, personally challenging and uncertain time.

Memory Making

It’s amazing the power memories can hold. Listening to a certain song, rifling through old photos or smelling perfume or aftershave that reminds you of someone can suddenly transport you back to a different time.

A memory box is a container to hold special items belonging to you or a loved one who has died. The items in the box can help a family hold on to precious memories. Anything that has a personal story attached to it can be included. This might include jewellery, cards, toys or tickets from places you have visited. A member of our team can help you to create a memory box or other ways to of protecting special memories.

Our Bereavement Support Service

Are you feeling overwhelmed, confused, empty, helpless, guilty, angry, anxious, depressed, tired or tearful? These are just some of the many dimensions of grief. It can be all-consuming, debilitating and one of the most difficult experiences a person will ever go through ….. but you don’t have to cope alone.

Our Bereavement Support Service is available to anyone over the age of 18 who is grieving, irrespective of time, cause or relationship. There is also no requirement to have had previous contact with the hospice services.

One to One Bereavement Support

Many people find to helps to talk with someone other than a member of their family or a close friend. After an initial assessment, you will be offered one to one emotional support with a trained and supervised bereavement support volunteer. This can be by telephone or face to face, provided within a confidential, safe space. Appointment times and dates are flexible and arranged around your availability.

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.

If a person is living with illness they and their family may want to talk about future care. Sometimes just talking through different options is helpful. You may want to enable your loved one to be at home to die. Talking through your fears and anxieties and reaching an understanding more fully of what may happen can be very empowering.

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. Emotions are often overwhelming and confusing. Talking about them can help reduce their intensity and help you make sense of why you feel the way you do

Where will I be seen?

You can be seen in your own home or at the Hospice in the Family Support Room which is a dedicated quiet space.

Will you see our family together?

Yes, sometimes it is easier to talk with all family together initially and then have some individual time later

What if I don’t want to see someone face to face or don’t have time?

You are not alone – so we also run an Online Community. If someone you love has died, our online community is a place to share experiences, get things off your chest, ask questions and chat to people who understand

We hold monthly coffee evenings for our online group members. The coffee evenings are for anybody experiencing bereavement who would like to meet up with others who have experienced something similar. The gatherings are informal – and you do not have to speak about your bereavement. You may just want to meet some new people who are also going through the journey of bereavement. You are also very welcome to speak about your grief – it can be extremely beneficial to open up to others and feel accepted as you are. A few of our team will be there to chat with you and are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Our Coffee evenings are held in the St Mary’s Hospice Orangery in Ulverston on the last Thursday of each month 6 – 7:30 pm.

We also offer telephone support as often families are widespread and don’t live in South Cumbria or are too tired and busy. We can ring on a regular basis if this feels more supportive than meeting up or you can simply phone us.

I Prefer to Work through Difficulties through Doing more than Talking – how can you help?

Make, Do and Mend Workshop

Our Make, Do and Mend upcycling workshop is based within our Furniture Warehouse at our Living Well Centre on 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 workshop offers an opportunity for people to pursue practical interest and projects such as recycling furniture from the hospice warehouse, either as a group or on their own. If they prefer, people can simply come and have a cup of tea and a chat with a member of the Retail and Family & Bereavement Support Team.

Do you support children?

We support parents and grandparents to support the children in their family circle. We can tell you about other specialist services who work directly with children.

We 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 9:30-11:30am.

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 between 10-12am. Please feel free to drop in and see us there.

I haven’t used hospice services – can I still access support?

Anyone can access our service; you do not need to have used hospice services beforehand. If in doubt always just ring us and if we feel we are not the best service for you then we would help guide you to another source of help.

What if I need more help such as Counselling?

We offer an assessment of your situation and can talk through with you other types of psychological support/talking therapies which may be helpful and how to access these.