The family support team led by Dr Chris Buscombe consists of Play Specialists, Counsellors and Music Therapists who provide activities and support to children/young people and their families. The team offer several services which include the following:
The Counselling Service
The Counselling Service gives people the opportunity to talk in confidence and in a private setting about any issues which may be concerning them or their family. Sharing thoughts and feelings with someone may help the person through difficult times. This support can be in the form of individual sessions or group-work. The service is available to any family member - parents, siblings, grandparents and the child/young person who accesses Claire House. Our counsellors are based within the hospice but can offer support sessions within the family home or school if appropriate. The counselling team work closely with the care and hospice to home teams and provide more specialist bereavement care to those families who require additional support.
The team also recognise that family members can also benefit from informally getting together with other families and therefore organise events throughout the year where parents/grandparents can meet up and enjoy perhaps a pamper day or evening complimentary therapy session. Adolescent weekends are arranged which focus on young people spending time together and having fun.
Claire House Play Specialists provide the opportunity for all children and young people to have access to a wide variety of different stimulating play opportunities.
These include sensory and tactile stories, individualised adapted arts and crafts, eye gaze technology, immersive technology, resonance board, iPad games, messy play, Makaton singing, switch work, light room, baking and trips out.
Every session is adapted to the child’s/young person’s capabilities, ensuring they still get the opportunity to engage with every activity taking place at Claire House. As technology is advancing, stimulating children and young people is changing and with the current facilities Claire House has, it is enabling us to give children independence and empowerment because they interact with the activities themselves.
We have a new Play Outreach service providing play sessions for children and young people who access Claire House. The service is working with Hospice to Home and other local services which aim to enhance the child/young person’s life through the medium of play and provide education and training to parents/carers.
Following a child or young person’s death, the team will continue to support the family. Should the family wish for their child to be transferred to the Butterfly Suite at Claire House where a child can stay as an alternative to a funeral home, we will help to arrange this. Should the family wish to stay at home with their child, we are able to work with local funeral directors to enable this wherever possible.
Helping families at this difficult time will be very individual and can range from practical support such as registering the child’s death and funeral planning to emotional such as collecting mementoes and supporting siblings through memory boxes.
Following a child’s funeral, we will continue to maintain contact with the family through cards, telephone contact and home visits and will refer to the counselling and/or complementary therapy service where appropriate.