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P104 Developing a parent-led befriending service in a children’s hospice
  1. Gillespie Dorothy1
  1. 1Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, Stoke- on- Trent, UK


In autumn 2010 funding was secured to pilot a bespoke Parent and carer befriending model designed around the specific needs of parents and carers who use the hospice.

Befriending is recognised as a successful model for providing emotional, psychological and practical support. Befriending models are used nationally and internationally to help and support a wide variety of people, children, teenagers, parents.

Aims of Befriending

  • Improve the social well-being and psychological health of parents and their families.

  • Reduce parental isolation

  • Ensure that parents who discover their child has a life shortening illness are supported, through befriending to understand their child’s special needs and their own feelings about them.

  • Parents become empowered and better able to manage their family’s new situation

  • Parents are able to communicate better with professionals

Approach Used Five parents were recruited and trained to become Parent and Carer befrienders.

This is a volunteer role and is designed to be flexible to respond to the ever changing needs of the befrienders own unique family situation.

All the recruits undertook a 40 hour training programme to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be a professional parent befriender.

Parents or staff can refer to the service; information is in the family information packs, around the hospice and on the hospice website.

Outcomes Between Jan 2011 and Jan 2012, 11 parents/ carers were befriended.

An average of 40 hours per month of support is being offered to families.

All parents who have used the befriending service reported benefitting from the service and would recommend it to another parent.

Parents rated the befriending service on a scale of 1-10 the average score was 9.3.

Application to Hospice Practice This service user led/ volunteer based model is transferable across all hospice settings.

  • It is a low cost, high return service development in terms of value added for befrienders and the befriended.

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