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Charities come together to help grieving parents

Local charities, Jersey Hospice Care and Philip’s Footprints are working together to provide specialist bereavement support for grieving families who have experienced, or who are about to experience, the loss of a baby or child.

Last week, Jersey Hospice Care received a £10,000 grant from Philip’s Footprints towards the cost of Hospice’s Emotional and Bereavement Service. Both charities understand the vital need to support parents, and other family members, who have experienced the loss of a baby or child and help them through their grief whether that is over a few months or years.

Jo Nash, Founder of Philip’s Footprints describes why this partnership to provide this service is so important “Whilst grief is a natural reaction to loss, when it comes to losing a baby or child that you have planned and prepared for, it can be traumatic and devastating.” Every year, Philip’s Footprints helps around 20 families deal with the pain of losing a baby or child through memory boxes, remembrance services and peer support. They recognise the excellent support offered by the Emotional and Bereavement Service at Hospice and regularly signpost parents there just after loss, but sometimes years later. They are delighted to now partner in providing this vital care not just for 2020, but as an annual commitment.

The Emotional and Bereavement Service at Jersey Hospice Care is available to adults and children of all ages in need of support while coming to terms with the death or imminent death of a family member (or friend). The service is made up of a team of counsellors, volunteer support workers and student counsellors who are committed to meeting the needs of each individual and family so that they can start to take control of their lives again. Last year, Hospice received 365 referrals for the service and offered over 1,300 appointments.

Mary Le Hegarat, MBACP Registered counsellor at Jersey Hospice Care said: “We recognise that no two people will experience grief and loss in the same way and that many people find it helps to talk with someone who is not part of their family or close circle of friends. This is what we are here for”.

At present, Jersey Hospice Care is the only non-charging provider on-island who will see both parents together, as well as other family members, including siblings, after the death of a baby. Referrals to the Bereavement Service are received from GPs or are self-referrals from information provided by Jersey General Hospital or via Gov.je where Jersey Hospice Care and Philip’s Footprints contact details are provided.

Jersey Hospice Care also provides emotional support to families who have a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. Life-limiting and life-threatening conditions can have a huge emotional impact on family members and the changes that occur daily can be very challenging. Islanders may self-refer themselves for emotional or bereavement support from Hospice or can be referred by their GP or other health care provider. After an initial telephone assessment, clients are then offered the most appropriate support for their needs including one to one counselling or support groups. There is no charge for this service to ensure that it is available for all who need it.