Any healthcare professional involved with the patient or family can refer to the service. Most commonly referrals are made by the oncology or palliative care service. They can also be made by primary care or acute hospital professionals.
Referral can be made through single point of access (SPOA).
Liaison with other professionals, such as teachers, doctors and Social Services is offered as appropriate to ensure co-ordinated support. When making a referral it is important that you have gained consent for us to make contact. Please include Name, CHI and up to date contact details with a little bit of narrative for reason for referral.
Children and families service
Parents may face helping their children understand the nature of the illness, adjust to changes in the ability of their ill parent and having to prepare them to say goodbye. Common concerns explored include making sense of what is happening, making sense of personal and family history; adjusting to changes in physical ability, exploring emotional reactions, making relationship adjustments and identifying wishes and hopes for the future. Work might involve, for example, helping the patient to put together written or recorded material to leave for the family. Information and support can also be offered to young people and occasionally directly to children themselves.
Support can start or continue at any point during the bereavement process through individual and family counselling and bereavement groups.
What we do
There is one full time practitioner and one part time practitioner and a young person’s bereavement counsellor. We may refer to the early intervention clinic or start a referral during the palliative care journey. Families whose parent experienced a very short illness and reached end of life in a very short time can also be referred.
You can expect that initial contact will be made within 3 – 5 days of the team receiving the referral.
We are not an emergency service. If someone is in crisis they must contact their GP or 111 for the mental health team.
The team work Monday to Friday office hours but would consider an early or later appointment for those who are unable to get away from work.
FAQs (Frequently asked questions)
Click on blue question for answer
When can I be referred?
You can attend the early intervention clinic at any point in your cancer journey if you wish some time to prepare yourself for difficult conversations with your children. You can also attend to speak to a practitioner about how to explain to your children that you have few treatment options or are being referred to the specialist palliative care service. You can be referred at any point in your bereavement for support with your own feelings of loss or for advice about supporting your children.
Do I need to bring my children to my appointment?
Absolutely not, In fact we prefer to speak to you on your own and help you feel more confident about how to approach the changes that you face. It doesn’t make sense to children to be given important information by a stranger. We find it is best that we help you to tailor information giving for your specific family situation. Sometimes we do offer support and counseling to teenagers as they are more likely to try and protect you by keeping their worries to themselves.
Which adults come to the appointments or attend the home visits if we cannot come to you?
This is up to you, and is individually decided for your specific needs during our initial phone call. Sometimes, both parents attend and at others only the patient or well parent attend. Step-parents, grandparents and other people who are key to the children in your life are also able to come. We work that out with you as we go along.
What groups do you run?
Our practitioners run parents groups, family groups, teen groups and occasional events for the families in our service. This allows you to meet with others in a similar situation and share advice and experiences.
How long can I use the service?
You can use the services for long as you wish. You leave when you are ready and many people come back again after a few months as their children get older and their needs change.