Advice you can you give to families
The key to supporting bereaved families is to offer them a space and a way to share how they have been feeling. It is also helpful to provide information and resources on what to expect in bereavement and how to cope.
The hospice has produced a series of leaflets that can help:
- How to talk about death and dying
- Ways to remember loved ones (alternatives to funerals)
- Coping with difficult emotions
- Children and young people bereavement websites
- Useful books for helping children and young people cope with grief
Supporting their return to school
School life offers consistency in what is often a very unsettling time, so returning to the classroom can be of great benefit if it is managed properly.
It is vital schools talk with parents about the bereavement, what the child understands about it and how they are reacting to the loss. Following this, there can be an agreed support plan to help the child’s return to go smoothly.
This should include:
- If the child needs a ‘time out’ from lessons, agree where they can go and who should be informed. Identify a quiet, safe space in school and a named member of staff they can comfortably talk to if upset
- Recognition that grief can be very tiring, the child is likely to have a lack of sleep and therefore may be more irritable or lack concentration. Making their teachers aware can assist understanding
- Discussion with the child regarding whom they want to know what has happened, would they prefer the whole class to know or just their teacher and a few friends. Identify a friend in school whom they can talk to if they are upset
- Awareness that there may be days in which the child is reluctant to attend school and what arrangements are in place if they do not come in (i.e. school work)
Additionally, St Elizabeth Hospice will be providing online training and webinars in how to support bereaved families – more information to come .