The gap Together with our partners, the CCG and the LA, we recognised a need for open access children’s bereavement services which offered wide-ranging and well-tailored support to bereaved children and their families. A significant gap also existed in professional support for parents of bereaved children.
The Service The broad-based service we developed encompasses art, drama and music therapy alongside traditional talking and family therapy. These now link seamlessly with hospice-run adult bereavement services to offer a single, lifespan, open-access service for any bereaved child or family member. We now offer groups where psychologists, music therapists and community artists provide monthly individual and group sessions for children and their families and weekly groups for children where they can access art, drama and music, and meet other children in a similar position. We operate responsively and liaise with parents, teachers and mental health services and gather service-user feedback to monitor quality.
Outcomes and Demand We have noticed a significant and increasing demand for these new services. Our referrals have increased significantly and these also now come from a greater variety of sources as more schools and external services become aware. Results show that services of this type are important and necessary and that there is significant demand for such a responsive, multi-faceted and well-resourced project. In particular we are finding that the lack of service boundaries and the seamless linkages across traditional age barriers are very well evaluated. We will continue to expand the service in line with demand and are proud of what we have achieved. We will be highlighting the process and challenges of service setup and explain how partnership working has been vital to success. Results of our ongoing evaluation will also be presented.
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