Introduction I hope to highlight some of the achievements and challenges I faced whilst developing a counselling support project for the patients and relatives of those people having contact with Willow Wood Hospice. Historically the hospice had no previous experience of counselling; bereavement support consisted of a monthly open support group and signposting to external services.
Aims I hoped to develop a Counselling Support service for individuals, families, children and young people who had been affected by the bereavement of a significant person and to provide counselling, and or, psychological support to patients, loved ones and families of those approaching end of life or those who have a life limiting illness.
Methods Historically the hospice had undertaken a counselling service needs analysis prior to funding for my post, ‘Family Support Bereavement Counsellor’. Initially I began to develop the foundations of the project by creating referral pathways, referral criteria and counselling information leaflets which highlighted the parameters of the project and whowould be eligible for counselling support, I then disseminated this information to colleagues and volunteers within the hospice.
Results Twelve months on and I feel that the counselling support service has become an integral element of support within the hospice, providing both individual and group support as well as training and awareness sessions on the subject of grief and bereavement support.
Conclusion Introducing a psychotherapeutic model of support into the hospice environment has had its challenges. Raising the hospice's awareness of counselling and challenging assumptions related to the importance of confidentiality and the very particular process of counselling is an ongoing process. It has been useful for me to have linked in with other hospices and ABSCo, both reducing feelings of isolation and supporting the development of good practice.
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