Skip to content
left end
left end
right end
*

Bereavement support

The Bereavement support team are here to help you through the early days of your bereavement or later on when you may be seeking bereavement support. Feel free to contact the Team on 0117 342 7293 or email them at: ChildrensBereavementSupportTeam@uhbristol.nhs.uk

The death of a child is a devastating and painful time for the whole family and it can also be a very confusing time.

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I an not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep swallowing. At other times if feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the word and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me". (C. S. Lewis 'A Grief Observed')

Here you will find information that will help you over the next few days to find some answers to the practical issues and where you can get more help should you need it.

We understand that you don't always hear what people are saying following bereavement and so those who looked after your child are always happy to help in any way we can and go over information that you may not have understood.

You would have been given a booklet called 'When Your Child Has Died'. The last few pages of this booklet look at support in the days following the death of your child and so may be useful to keep close by.

Grief is a normal and healthy process, but it is also painful and hard to see a way through and at times to share that with your partner or other family members can be very difficult. One parent described grief in the following way:

"The pain of grief is like walking about with a sharp stone in your stomach, every time you move you feel pain but over time the sharp edges become smoother and whilst the pain never goes away it does become easier.'

We have signposted some helpful links below and organisations that offer support to bereaved families.

Who can I speak to about the death of my child?

Contact with the hospital medical team responsible for your child's care

After your child has died, you will receive a call from one of the nurses who cared for your child. This will be followed up a second call two or three weeks later to see how you are doing. You should also receive a letter from your child's Consultant inviting you to meet to discuss any questions you have concerning your child's death. An appointment to see the Consultant will be made usually within 4 - 6 weeks after your child has died. Alternatively you may wish to see other members of your health care team, such as the Chaplain or Psychologist. If you live some distance from Bristol, it is sometimes possible for this meeting to take place at your local hospital or, in some cases, at your GP's surgery.

If you have not received a call or a letter, or you wish at any time to speak to someone who may be able to help and/or give guidance - please ring our Palliative Care Liaison Nurse on 07785333014

Child death review and other processes

The health care team regard the death of every child as a tragedy and go to great efforts to understand and learn, so as to continually improve the care we deliver. You would have been given some information about the child death review process after your child died. We welcome your input into this. You will have the opportunity to feed any questions you may have into the meeting, and afterwards the health care team will again offer a follow-up meeting to feed back all that was discussed. Occasionally, the hospital will also wish to carry out an in-depth analysis of the events preceding your child's death. This is called a Root Cause Analysis. Again, you will be given the opportunity to be involved with this.

Please see  here for 'the child death review, a guide for parents and carers' from The Lullaby Trust. 

LIAISE at Bristol children's hospital

LIAISE is a support service which is available to all families using the hospital.  For bereaved families it can sometimes be easier to speak to staff who have not been directly involved in their child's care and LIAISE can offer support in identifying and answering outstanding questions about the experience and help keep families engaged with some of the formal hospital processes such as the Child Death Review by working on your behalf with the clinical team.

LIAISE can offer support on the telephone, via email (with consent) or face to face and will be happy to offer appointments to families away from the Children's Hospital in other parts of the Trust or at local GP surgeries. LIAISE does not offer bereavement counselling but is able to signpost families to other specialist services and support them in making choices about what is likely to be helpful. There is no time limit to the service so you can get in touch at any point, even if it is some years since your child died.

You can visit them on site during the following times:

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children - Family Information Room, Level 2 (main reception)
Monday to Friday: 9.30am to 5pm

There are parent drop-in sessions between 10am and 12 noon, and 2pm and 4pm each day where you do not need to book.  However, please be aware that if the door is closed during this time, they may be with another family.  Outside of these times, or if the team are busy, please call the office on the number below or ask your nurse to ring to make an appointment:

Telephone: 0117 342 8065
Email:bchinfo@UHBristol.nhs.uk

(They will aim to acknowledge your enquiry within 72hours)