Background The ability to provide holistic support for families is extremely important. As an organisation that looks after adults with terminal illness, their partners, carers and families, we were aware that we did not provide bereavement support to young people under the age of 18 who may have had a relative or loved one supported by hospice care.
To target this gap in service provision we are working with a national youth charity to provide a new support service to young people coping with family long-term illness and bereavement.
Aim To support young people to cope with bereavement and look to the future.
Method A 12-week programme delivered by youth workers will engage young people in positive activities and provide pre- and post- bereavement support. Through a process of creative therapies and outdoor activities it will give young people a voice, allow them to share their experiences with other young people in similar circumstances, provide decompression time and an outlet with people who understand and care.
Results By engaging young people in positive activities during a difficult time in their lives, it is hoped the programme will improve confidence and self-esteem, create positive peer relationships, let them explore and develop aspirations and deliver increased resilience and coping strategies.
Evaluation of the programme will be multi-faceted with a mixture of self-evaluation, using Star Outcome Diagrams, staff evaluation including interviews with journey plans and observational feedback.
A 50:50 funding split has been agreed for the initial programme with a commitment to a second phase being delivered in late 2016.
Conclusion Coping with bereavement can be extremely difficult for young people and if successful the programme would extend the level of care being provided to support young people pre- and post- bereavement, expanding the holistic support that can be offered to families.
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