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Bereavement support

Bereavement Support Team

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: ChildrensBereavmentSupportTeam@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 world 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  click here to view 'When a child dies - a guide for parents and carers' published by NHS England. 

 

Family Café

Bristol Children's Hospital Bereavement Support Team would like to invite you to our new Family Café which we launched in 2019 in partnership with Winston's Wish and the Grand Appeal.

The Family Café will be on a Saturday afternoon and is a drop-in session for the whole family and which we plan to run four times per year. Our vision is that it will offer families affected by the loss of a child a welcoming environment in which to gather for mutual support. All sessions will be from 14:00-16:00.

We aim to create a safe space where you can speak openly about your loss and find an opportunity for reflection, conversation, listening and sharing of stories. We hope that by informally meeting other bereaved families over tea and biscuits, you will make connections and find courage and strength in knowing you are not alone. 

Everyone is welcome and there will be no pressure to come regularly, just whenever feels right for you. You will meet others who are at different stages, weeks, months or years after the death of their child, but will share an understanding of what you are going through.

All sessions will be overseen by staff from the Bereavement Support Team and Winston's Wish who will be available to offer further advice and guidance.

Venue: The Holiday Inn, Bond Street Bristol, BS1 3LE has generously agreed to host the Family Café and offer complimentary parking in the onsite NCP car park. On entering the Car Park you will receive a ticket which you must then take to be validated by the Concierge on the Ground Floor of the hotel. This will allow you to leave the car park free of charge.

There are also good connections for travel by bus and rail, with Temple Meads Station just 15 minutes' walk away. The hotel is only a 5 minute walk from the Cabot Circus shopping centre and local cafes and restaurants. The harbour-side area and other Bristol city centre attractions are nearby which you may like to visit before or after the session.

The next Family Café is at 2pm on Saturday 7th December 2019.

Dates for 2020 are: 7th March, 6th June, 19th September, 12th December.

Please get in touch if you need any more information about the Family Café or if there is anything else you would like to discuss with us:

Tel: 0117 342 7293 or email us at: ChildrensBereavementSupportTeam@uhbristol.nhs.uk

We will look forward to seeing you.

Francis Edwards & Catherine Le Roy on behalf of the Bereavement Support Team.