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