Thanks for the care and kindness during my mother-in-law’s last days; it made a difficult time more pleasant.
- Family member of a hospice patient
It’s not just our patients who need our care and support – we help those around the patient, too.
Illness affects more than just the person who is sick. Even the most loving carers and family members can find it a challenge to support a loved one. So, many of our services are also extended to carers, helping them to better cope.
Who we are
The Family Support Team consists of social workers, counsellors, bereavement counsellors and a chaplain, offering a timely, patient-centred service to both the patient and his/her family and carers.
Helping family and carers
People don’t exist in isolation – they’re usually part of a group of friends, family and carers. Illness can affect everyone, so we don’t just focus our help on the patient but also on those who support the patient.
Listening and counselling
When a loved one is ill or dying, it can create strong emotions which are difficult to deal with but unhealthy to suppress. We help people come to terms with what’s happening to their loved one and give them a valuable forum to express themselves honestly and in complete confidence. In turn, this helps them better support their loved one.
We also provide bereavement support to family members and carers, helping them to cope with loss. Death may well be a part of life, but that doesn’t make it easier to deal with. While no one can replace your loved one, we can help to make it easier for you to get back to your life.
Our patients come to us with their different stories; their cancer journey, their family story, their coping strategies, their worries about their loved ones and the issues that their conditions impose on them. Together we identify what is most important to them, and then support them in achieving their goals; be it practical help, help with housing issues, accessing other social care services, discharge planning, or signposting to other relevant services and others. Most of all, we listen.
Our main focus will always be to recognise, maintain and respect our patients and their relationships - in their family, in their community, in their cultural network and in their church/faith system.
Help and advice
There’s little that can prepare you for a loved one being ill – and just getting help can seem overwhelming. We can provide advice and information about options available to you – and not just those from us; perhaps the practical things such as how to organise assistance at home, available benefits, or getting things like handrails installed. We don’t always provide these things ourselves, but, where we can, we try to help by pointing you in the right direction.
How to access the Family Support Team
The Family Support Team at St Rocco’s accepts referrals for patients from hospice staff, Macmillan nurses, district nurses, community social workers, palliative care services, GP’s or professionals externally involved in providing care. Family members and carers’ self-referrals are also welcome. Referrals are allocated weekly according to the needs identified and availability of the requisite skill.
Telephone or written referrals are accepted. There is a direct telephone line and answer phone dedicated to the service (01925 579213). The team is available from Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 4.30pm. Client appointments outside these times are at the discretion of team members.
This is not an emergency or a crisis service.