Families whose baby has died.
Specialist bereavement care
Who our bereavement care is available to
Families of children who have died from a life-limiting condition.
An expert network of support for each family
Our team includes family support workers, therapists and counsellors with specialist experience of child death and trauma. Our care is holistic, from complementary therapy sessions to help with the physical symptoms that grief brings to art therapy sessions for siblings ensuring they can explore their grief in a way that makes sense to them. Each family is assessed to understand their welfare needs and can be offered care from a social worker who is an expert in bereavement support. Our team work together to ensure families have the professionals around them that they need.
The chance to engage with other families in similar circumstances
We know that the ‘true experts’ are other families who have experienced the death of a child. We regularly host family events where families can meet each other and develop personal support networks with people who live nearby and who have also experienced the loss of their child. There are unique and precious opportunities for parents to meet other parents, siblings to meet other siblings and grandparents to meet other grandparents.
Established pathways of care
Through our specialist work we have developed pathways of care for all types of child bereavement. Each family has a dedicated family support worker who will take the time to get to know them and be a consistent support for three years and three months. When families are referred at the time of their child’s death, we offer companion care, memory making and use of our bereavement suite. Whether in their home or our hospice, we gently support families through each step in the immediate days and weeks, and for the years following their child’s death. Our family support workers check in with families every few months to help them think about any support they may need with their mental health and wellbeing.
A specialist local bereavement centre
Our two locations, Shooting Star House in Hampton and Christopher’s in Guildford, provide a dedicated purpose-built safe space for families where they can transition from a medical environment to a local support network who are experts in bereavement care. These are places where they can express their grief in a place they feel safe, surrounded by others who understand and with experts there to help. Families tell us how helpful it is to have somewhere in the community to remember and celebrate the life of their child, and how family-friendly and welcoming our spaces are for everyone.
We help families regain emotional strength. The first year after a bereavement can feel traumatic and overwhelming, we can support families through all the ‘firsts’. For example, we run a Christmas Grotto each December giving siblings the chance to have fun while parents have the space and support they need to let their emotions out. We want to help families get through each first so the next year they feel a little stronger and eventually feel supported enough to face the important, but tough, days without us.
Our bereavement suite
After a child has died, they can lay at rest in one of our bereavement suites, giving their family a chance to say goodbye. This video, designed to be shared with families, features information and the personal story of Rhodri’s parents who explain what coming to Christopher’s for end-of-life care would mean, and how we can help families say goodbye in their own time.