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Sudden & Unexpected Death: Our Care & Support

We know the depth of impact that a sudden death of a child or baby has on a family, and we want to support and care for you. We provide specialist care to families of babies or children who have died suddenly. This might be from an unexpected illness or a death that cannot be explained*. Becoming a family supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices means you can access personalised bereavement care, specific to your family’s needs and values.

Memory jars made with coloured salts

What does our care look like?

You will have a dedicated Family Support Worker when you first join our service. They will be your point of contact and will get to know your family and act as someone with your best interests in heart, regardless of what you need support with. If you are referred to us at the time of your child’s death, they can help you with registration, coroners or post mortem enquiries, funeral planning and any other practical tasks following a sudden death that may feel overwhelming. They will reach out to check-in with you, and offer expert advice and support. If you’d like to, they can help you access our specialist psychological care, such as our counselling service, complementary therapies or children’s therapy sessions. These services are for parents, brothers and sisters and grandparents.  If you like, you can meet other families at our centres, at one of our Pamper Days, drop-ins or siblings days. Your Family Support Worker will stay in touch for 3 years & 3 months, checking in on whether our support is helping you and if there is any other care we can give. They will point you in the direction of other charities who can help too.

Willow suite

We may be able to offer the option for your child to be transferred to Willow our bereavement suite following post-mortem. This allows you to spend time saying goodbye in a supported environment, ahead of their funeral.

Support where you need it

At one of our buildings

You can come to Shooting Star House in Hampton, or Christopher’s in Guildford. These are safe places where you can reflect on your grief with your loved ones, attend support groups or family events alongside families who have experienced similar tragedies, receive counselling or creative therapies, have a holistic massage or a chat with your support worker somewhere safe and familiar.

In your own home

If you are feeling nervous or unsure, we can come to you instead. This might be a visit to your home, or we can call you or talk over text. If you have other children to look after we can make sure someone is available to play and explore their needs as well, while we are talking to you. You are at the centre of our care, and we will do everything we can to help you to feel comfortable, supported and listened to.

A community nurse working at a computer

Getting referred to our service

Living with grief is complicated and sometimes difficult to navigate. It is so important that you have the time and space to explore what will help you and those in your family, which is why we urge you to explore the support we offer, even if you later decide that it’s not right for you. You can find links to discover more about our service, or contact us if you have further questions. Once you are ready you, or a professional acting on your behalf, can start a referral for you to be accepted into our service.

*Who we can offer support to

We are developing our bereavement service provision. Currently we are unable to help where deaths are caused by suicide, homicide, and other circumstances where an arrest has been made. We apologise that we are not able to provide this care at this time. For full details of who we can offer our support to, please take a look at our referral criteria via the link above.