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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:

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 am 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 'Next Steps'. 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 should receive a call from one of the nurses who cared for your child, or from a bereavement support key worker. This should be followed up by a further support call over the weeks ahead. 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. The letter usually arrives around 6 weeks after your child has died, you may decide that meeting soon after this is important to you, alternatively some families decide to wait until additional test results and information is available. The key point to remember is that the offer of a meeting remains open to you and you should feel supported in communicating with hospital team at a pace which feel right for you.  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 a more convenient location.

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 the Paediatric Bereavement Support Team - 01173427293.

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. 

Service of Light 2023

Christmas can be a special and memorable time for children and families, but for some families the significance and poignancy of the festive period can hold a greater meaning. 

Each year the Paediatric Palliative Care & Bereavement Support Team and the Hospital Chaplaincy Team have worked together to produce a virtual Service of Light. The aim of this service is to honour and remember the lives of children cared for at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and to reach out to bereaved families and friends with a message of love, hope and peace at this important time of year.

You can view the Service of Light 2023 on our YouTube page here.

For further information or support please call: 0117 342 7293 or email us at:

Children's Funeral Fund in England

The government has launched the new Children's Funeral Fund in England. The new fund can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a child under the age of 18- or a baby stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy. The burial or cremation must take place in England. It is not means-tested: what a parent earns or how much they have in savings will not affect what they get.

The fund can help pay for:

  • Burial fees
  • Cremation fees, including the cost of a doctor's certificate
  • A coffin, shroud or casket (up to a cost of £300).

More information about the Children's Funeral Fund is available here:

Other helpful resources and information can be found below:


 Further information and support 


24 hour service providing emotional support for anyone who's struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgment or pressure, at any time of day or night.

Free helpline: 116 123



Child Bereavement UK

Supports families, provides information sheets and offers a telephone helpline for anyone affected by the death of a child, or who is caring for a bereaved child.

Phone: 0800 02 888 40



Child Death Helpline

For anyone affected by the death of a child of any age from any cause. The helpline is staffed by volunteers, all of them bereaved parents.

Phone: 0800 282986 (from landlines) / 0800 800 6019 (from mobiles)



Winston's Wish

Offers practical support and guidance and a range of helpful and practical publications, resources and information to families, professionals and anyone concerned about a grieving child.

Phone: 08088 020 021



Grief Encounter

Offers personal support and a variety of resources to anyone bereaved.

Phone: 020 8371 8455

Email: - general information

Email: - counselling service via email and skype.

Grieftalk Helpline: 0808 802 0111


Cruse Bereavement Care

Offers support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies.

Free National Helpline: 0808 808 1677


For face-to-face or group support, contact your local Cruse branch


Hope Again

The youth website of Cruse Bereavement Care - supports young people with how to cope with grief and feel less alone.

National Helpline: 0808 808 1677



The Compassionate Friends

A registered charity formed by and for parents whose children have died.

Helpline 0345 123 2304



The Lullaby Trust

Support for anyone affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or young child.

Phone: 0808 802 6868



Support for anyone affected by the death of a baby.

Phone: 0808 164 3332



A Child of Mine

Support for anyone affected by the death of a child, offering emotional support, practical information and guidance.

Phone: 01785 283 434

Telephone helpline: 07803 751229


Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

Exists to meet the needs and break the isolation experienced by those bereaved by suicide.

Helpline: 0300 111 5065




Online guidance to help ease the suffering of people bereaved by any kind of sudden death.

Helpline 0800 2600 400



The Good Grief Trust

Website run by the bereaved, for the bereaved and exists to help all those suffering grief in the UK.



2Wish Upon A Star

Support for anyone affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a child or young person aged 25 and under in Wales. (The child must be Welsh, have resided in Wales or the death must have occurred in Wales).

Phone: 01443 853125



Care for the Family

Peer support and resources for any parent whose son or daughter has died at any age, in any circumstance. The charity also runs events, support days and weekends away for bereaved parents.

Phone: 029 2081 0800



At A

Charity signposting to bereavement support services, information, helplines and resources.


Children of Jannah

An organisation supporting Muslim parents, providing practical, emotional and spiritual support.

Support and Information Line: 0161 480 5156



The Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service

Bereavement counselling for everyone in the Jewish Community.

Phone: 020 8951 3881



The Harbour

A Bristol based independent charity providing free, professional counselling and psychotherapy for parents following the death of a child through illness.

Phone: 0117 925 9348



For helpful books/resources for children, please refer to p54 of the Next Steps booklet: Next Steps