Family Support

The Family Support Service at Primrose Hospice provides a range of psycho-social support for patient's, carers and loved ones. The service is headed by the Family Support Team Leader, a qualified social worker, and incorporates:

Our Family Support services are available to all patients, relatives and close friends connected with Primrose. We offer pre-bereavement, bereavement and post-bereavement support to all who require psychosocial and practical help, or just a “listening ear”.

When patients and their families are living with a serious illness, every aspect of life can be affected.

Not only are there physical and medical aspects of the illness to cope with but also the impact on the future, family and working life, leisure and social activities, finances and financial security.

Feeling, beliefs, homes and aims in life can feel turned upside down.

All members of the hospice team give a certain level of psychological, emotional and practical support. However, the professionals and volunteers within the Family Support team can offer additional help.

Adult Family Support

Primrose offers emotional support to adults, patients, carers and loved ones through the Family Support Team.

Trained volunteers make up the Adult Team Family Support Team. The Team is supervised at Primrose by the Family Support Team Leader.

The volunteers see people in their own homes or at the Day Hospice if the person prefers.

The Family Support Team offers an empathetic ear to support people on their journey through the different stages of cancer and other life-limiting illness.

Our service can work with individuals or support the family together. A life threatening illness can cause major changes within a family and children of all ages will be affected by this. Our Family Support Service can support families through this extremely difficult time and we will try to ensure we provide a service which meets each family's individual needs.

Contact Heather Coughlin on 01527 871051

Children’s Family Support Team

The Children’s Family Support Team consists of volunteers, all of whom have a background working with children, and in addition have received specific training in listening to and supporting children at times when a special person in their life has a life threatening illness or has died.

The Children’s Family Support Worker will usually visit the child in their own home or, if more appropriate, within another setting, i.e. the child’s school or at the Coppice Centre.

Family Support & Benefits Advice 

The Family Support & Benefits Adviser offers practical advice, information and representation as needed for issues including benefits, housing, employment, debt, bereavement issues, including funerals and probate, concerns about family and other relationship issues, and help with charity applications.

Following referral, appointments are available to patients, carers and close family members, where appropriate, and people can be seen either in their own homes or at the Hospice. Alternatively advice can be given over the telephone. The service is designed to be flexible to accommodate individual client need.

Contact Claire Stallard on 01527 871051

Counselling Team

The Primrose Hospice Counselling Service is based in the purpose built Coppice Centre adjacent to Primrose Day Hospice.

The Counselling Service is one of only two hospices based British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Accredited Counselling Services in the UK. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the largest organisation overseeing the accreditation and registration of counsellors and psychotherapists in the United Kingdom.

To quote BACP, the Service Accreditation Scheme “provides status and validation for the accredited service. Service Accreditation provides robust evidence of service quality and professionalism. Essentially, it demonstrates that the service is committing to competence.”

The Counselling Service at Primrose offers a service to:

Most people have times in their lives when they have difficulty coping. At such times counselling can give you space and time to help you explore your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes having a confidential space to do this with someone who independent, not a family member or friend is all you need.

For others counselling can help by exploring patterns of behaviour which may be causing difficulty in your life, patterns of behaviour which have formed through your life experience. Counselling can help you work towards a greater understanding of you and your situation, to think about solutions and possible ways forward.

Counselling is a contracted, professional relationship between a therapist and client. It is where an appropriately qualified practitioner uses therapeutic interventions based upon recognised counselling and psychotherapy theory to help bring about changes in the client's life or to focus on specific goals. Counselling can be especially helpful at a time when we are affected by serious illness or loss.

Counselling is different for each person. Sometimes people find that counselling helps them to feel better quickly. For other people they may feel worse before they feel better. The outcome of counselling may not always be what is expected but hopefully it will be positive.

The Counselling Service is led by a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist & Supervisor, along with qualified volunteer counsellors and student counsellors on clinical placement. All counsellors within the service belong to BACP and work to the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. All the counsellors have supervision in line with BACP requirements.

Counselling sessions are available for individuals, as well as for couples and family members together. Counselling is also available for children and young people. There is no time limit on when counselling can be accessed; the service can be accessed at any time following a diagnosis of a life limiting illness or life threatening illness or a bereavement.

You can refer yourself to the service or be referred by a health care professional, such as your GP.

Following an initial assessment, there is sometimes a short wait before a counsellor becomes available. There is no charge for accessing the Counselling Service and all sessions are confidential, your counsellor will talk with you about confidentiality at your first session.

Children & Young People’s Counselling

When a young person loses someone they love or someone they care about has a life threatening illness life can feel scary, distressing and make them feel anxious or confused. Sometimes family and friends can give young people all the support they need but sometimes not.

Counselling gives a private space for a young person to talk through difficulties with someone who is not involved in their family life. Counselling is likely to be different from any support or advice a young person has had before. The counsellor does not tell clients what to do or make judgements about them but will always try to understand things from the young person’s point of view and help support them to find their own answers.

Couples & Family Counselling

When someone dies or is diagnosed with a life threatening illness or life limiting illness, your partner and family members can be a source of comfort and support but sometimes at such times relationships within families are put under strain.

Family and couples counselling are types of counselling which work with family members or couples together to help them share their thoughts and feelings. It can help people reach more of an understanding and help everyone cope better with their situation.

This is what clients have said about our Counselling Service:

“ …… helped me enormously. “Thank you.”

“… was extremely professional and caring. Without her support, I would not be now feeling able to cope and get on with my life.”

“I could not have wished for better anywhere.” “Thank you.”

“A great help to identifying core problems and allowing me to deal with my situation.”

“I felt the whole experience was very good. …. was brilliant, I would never have got through that time in my life without her help.”

“I felt really comfortable talking to …. and felt she was really understanding.” “A1.”

“…. to talk with ….. really helped me to try and come to terms with my husband’s death. I found everyone I came into contact with at the Hospice to be so kind and caring.”

“The counselling sessions were absolutely wonderful and totally what I needed to help me understand the emotions and pain I was experiencing. Thank you so much for your support, care and guidance.”

“I was taken from despair after my loss to seeing a way forward.”

“I really feel that without my counsellor, I would not be where I am at the moment. She gave me hope and helped me understand that I can carry on with help and support from family and friends.”

“Great experience at a very difficult time.”

“All of the people I have seen at Primrose, including counselling, have helped me feel more able to deal with things.”

“No-one could have any complaints about the services here.”

“Very warm and friendly counsellor, put me at ease. Thank you.”

“Excellent service and long may it continue!”

“I would like to thank you all for your warmth and understanding.”

“I was dubious before coming for my sessions but just thought I'd got nothing to lose by attending and now, as my loved one is coming to the end, I know that these sessions have been invaluable, especially after the sad loss of my father previously. Everybody I met there were truely fabulous, so thank you all".

If you are interesting in accessing our Counselling Service, please contact:
Julie Kimberly on 01527 871051.

Lifestory Books & Memory Boxes

Memory boxes and books enable people to feel close and connected to important people in their lives; they do not create memories but help to keep memories alive.

Memory boxes and books can also be used to let a loved one know things about a person who is seriously ill and may not be around in the future or who has died. They can also be a record for children who are too young to understand what is happening, but will cherish the information when they are older.

Memory boxes and books are as individual as the person who creates them and are put together to meet the needs of the family members to whom they will be given.

However, creating a memory box or book can be demanding, confusing and at times distressing, therefore should you wish support or advice regarding creating a Memory box or book, help is available from members of the Family Support Team who have been specially trained to help you put a box or book together.

Social work

The following questions often worry hospice patients and families:

• What happens if I cannot cope at home?
• What do we say to the children?
• How can I talk to those close to me?
• How will we cope financially?

There are occasions when the family needs are more complex. Living with serious illness can affect every aspect of peoples' lives. These stresses and strains can become difficult to cope with and talking to a social worker, either alone or with other family members, can help with this. Discussing all the available options can also help with any decisions that need to be made. The social worker can also assist by liaising with other agencies and services and advocating on behalf of the family.

If you are interested in any of these services please contact the Family Support team Leader, Heather Coughlin.