Family Support & Bereavement Service
Historically, for many years the Pre and Post Bereavement Service had been totally funded by Duchess of Kent House Charity to cover patients and relatives in the Greater Reading area. However since the end of 2007, the two local companion charities, Newbury & District Cancer Care Trust and Wokingham Cancer Care Trust have joined in the funding to extend the service to those living in their areas as well.
The service is managed and co-ordinated by The Family Support Services Managers Jackie Dearden and Susan Iacobucci who are both trained counsellors. Supporting them in their work they have a team of 17 trained bereavement volunteer visitors and 2 counselling supervisors.
Aim of the Service
The aim of the service is to enhance the holistic care provided to the patients and families who are cared for by each of the three constituent areas of the Specialist Palliative Care Service covering Reading, Wokingham and Newbury. The Family Support Service also works very closely with the Chaplain and Psychologists (also funded by the charities) and the wider multi-disciplinary team and is actively involved in education.
The Family Support and Bereavement Service provides a confidential service through counsellors and bereavement volunteer visitors both pre and post bereavement through referral for the patients and families registered with the Specialist Palliative Care Directorate of Berkshire West.
We offer a safe, non-judgmental environment for adults and children to explore and express their thoughts and feelings around the impact of serious illness and death, with the aim of reducing psychological distress and improving overall quality of life. We also support individuals through helping them to realise their own personal goals and by facilitating communication within the family.
This can be through
• Face-to-face contacts at home, Duchess of Kent House, Day Therapy Units, Community Hospitals etc.
• Telephone support
• Bereavement Telephone Helpline
• Liaison with other statutory and voluntary sector agencies
The Service also offers group events
• Family & Friends Afternoon - These events are held quarterly throughout the year and offer a chance for bereaved relatives to come together for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. Through invitation we invite both families and carers of those who died in Duchess of Kent House and those who died in the community to share this afternoon. It is a very informal occasion to meet over a cup a tea or coffee, and the Bereavement Team is there to give you a warm welcome.
• Closed Bereavement Support Group – This annual group is for relatives / carers of patients who died outside of Duchess of Kent House, but who were cared for within the Specialist Palliative Care Directorate.
The service is based at Duchess of Kent House and is available Monday to Friday 8.30 to 16.30 and can be contacted on 0118 955 0485 (voicemail available).