I Am Bereaved

Bereavement Support

Grieving for someone we have loved is a completely normal experience. Everyone experiences grief in their own way and, for some people, additional support at such a difficult time can be really helpful. Often what someone who is grieving needs the most is the chance to talk and express their feelings. It can be hard to turn to those around us as many people find it uncomfortable to talk about death.

Who can have bereavement support?

The Hospice can provide support to anyone connected to the patient who has died – whether that is a friend, family member, carer or partner.

We usually send a letter to the main carer within six weeks of the bereavement to offer bereavement support. However, anyone can refer themselves by contacting the hospice directly.

If you wish you can contact us following receipt of this letter, or before if you need.  If not, the letter will then be followed up a few weeks later with a phone call to see how you are. Many people appreciate this opportunity to talk. We understand that you know what is best for you so these calls are just a reminder to let you know that we are here, for you.

We have support booklets available for FREE on what to do when someone dies and emotional support after bereavement. You can view this here.

If you would like a hard copy of these booklets they are available from the reception and Café at The Living Well. If you can’t make it to The Living Well please contact us on 0151 430 8736 or bereavement@willowbrookhospice.org.uk and we will post one out to you.

Grief and loss is a very individual experience, it’s personal, emotive and affects everyone differently. For that reason at Willowbrook we can offer bereavement support in a variety of ways that best suit you.

Individual support is offered by our Family liaison and, where appropriate, the Spiritual Care Team. There is also an informal monthly, evening support group  at The Living Well, where a small number of bereaved people share experiences and support each other. Bereavement volunteers help with the running of the group and drink and refreshments are provided.

Adult bereavement support

If you are aged 18 years or over and have lost a family member, or friend, who was cared for by Willowbrook Hospice, our bereavement support team can offer you the chance to talk in a compassionate and non-judgmental environment. 

We can also signpost you to any practical help you may need following bereavement.

Child bereavement support

If you are worried about a child or young person who is grieving we can put you in touch with Child Bereavement UK, an organisation we are proud to work in partnership with. They help children, parents and families to rebuild their lives when a child grieves or when a child dies. They support children and young people up to the age of 25 who are facing bereavement and anyone affected by the death of a child of any age. If you want to contact them directly see below:
Tel: 0800 02 888 40
Email:
support@childbereavementuk.org or visit their website.

Our Special Services

Light up a Life service

The Hospice holds an annual Light up a Life service in December in different locations. This is a celebration of the lives of loved ones who have died and for the lives of those we love who are close to us. You can, if you wish, purchase a ‘light’ and put the name of your loved one in the ‘Book of honour’ which is on display at each service and then afterwards in the Hospice Quiet Space.  

Time to remember

Each year, all those who have lost a loved one are invited, by letter, to attend a special memorial service to remember the life of their loved one and give thanks. 

This service is open to everyone whose loved one was cared for by Willowbrook Hospice. We hold these services twice yearly meaning you will be invited to a service within 10 months of your bereavement. It is an opportunity to join with staff and volunteers to reflect on and remember the life and story of the person who has died. You will be invited along with your family and friends to the service. 

It’s very important for us at Willowbrook to have the opportunity to remember all those we have had the privilege to care for. 

One-to-one bereavement support

One-to-one bereavement support is offered by our trained volunteers. This is not formal counselling as such but an opportunity to talk freely about your loss, in confidence, with someone who will be able to listen to you with compassion about your experience of grief. 

If however, we feel that the support of a trained counsellor or other health professional would be the best option for you, we can signpost you to the most appropriate help. 

Sometimes people find that at first they do not want support but then later change their mind. If this happens to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Group support

We have a number of different supportive groups which aim to meet the needs of people at various points in their journey of grief. Some of these groups are aimed at bereaved people who have lost a loved one who was cared for by the hospice whereas others are monthly drop-in cafes for the wider community. We can also offer a programme of activities designed to combat the isolation and loneliness caused by the many different types of loss.  These groups will be facilitated by volunteers but their strength lies in the peer support offered by those who have similar life experiences to each other. 

We can also support you with further information and resources you may find helpful.

The Bereavement Support Volunteers bring a variety of experience to their work for the hospice. They are carefully selected and follow a comprehensive training programme which includes learning about bereavement and the effect that loss can have on our lives. Their work is regularly supervised by experienced staff.

If you require support you will have an initial chat with our family liaison who will make sure you know how our support works and will ensure you are paired with the volunteer most suited to you.

You will have the choice to visit us at The Living Well building for face to face support or to talk with one of our volunteers over the telephone. Whichever option you choose you will work with the same volunteer for the duration of your support.

If you are unsure which would be the best route for you, a chat with one of our Bereavement Team may help you decide.

Regardless of whether your support is delivered face to face or over the telephone you will be offered six hour-long sessions. The Bereavement Volunteer will initially meet with you, or speak over the telephone to introduce themselves and to give you a chance to share your story. If at the end of this first meeting or telephone call you wish to go ahead with the support you will arrange a date and time convenient to you both for your first of six sessions.

At the end of those six sessions you can be given the chance to join one of our bereavement groups or social activities. You may feel that you still need further one to one support so we will help you find the most appropriate help for you.

We have a number of different supportive groups which aim to meet the needs of people at various points in their grief journey. Some of these groups are aimed only at bereaved people who have lost a loved one who was cared for by the hospice. Whereas others are monthly drop-in cafes for the wider community. 

We also offer a programme of activities designed to combat the isolation and loneliness caused by many different types of loss.

These groups will be facilitated by volunteers but their strength lies in the peer support offered by those who have similar life experiences to each other.

We can also support you with further information and resources you may find helpful.

The Bereavement Service is free. Willowbrook hospice is a registered charity and relies on gifts and donations to carry out its work. Because of people’s generosity it is possible to offer bereavement support free of charge to everyone who needs it.

We do not expect donations but any contributions you might like to make will be gratefully received. Every donation, large or small, helps us to make a difference.

Contact the Bereavement Service

You can contact us via Family Liaison on 0151 430 8736 ext. 3521 or speak to a member of Outreach Services on 0151 430 8736 ext. 3554/3555 or 3520. You can also write to us at Willowbrook Hospice address or email us at: bereavement@willowbrookhospice.org.uk 

Our offer of bereavement support is not time-limited. You may feel months, and even years, after your loved one has passed away that you would like to talk to us. We will always be pleased to hear from you.