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Patient and Family Support

The Patient and Family Support Team are a group of St. Michael’s Hospice staff and volunteers offering practical, emotional, spiritual and social support to patients, their families and friends.

Who can access the Patient and Family Support Team?

The Patient and Family Support services are available to patients already known to St. Michael’s Hospice, their family, friends, and carers.

“I attended the informal bereavement coffee mornings a number of times in the 6 months after losing my wife. Initially I was not sure how I would feel about being around so many people who were feeling sad and lonely after the death of a loved one, as I didn’t feel that I needed to be reminded of the grief. However, during the first meeting, I was reassured that this was a very positive environment, the team were very supportive and understood every stage of the grieving process. Being with others in different phases of their individual journeys, helped me to realise how I was in fact healing and starting to move on, so much so, that I feel I am now ready to move to the next chapter of my life.”

Family member of a St. Michael's Hospice patient and bereavement coffee morning attendee.

Pre and Post Bereavement Services

The death of someone significant can be one of the most challenging and painful life experiences we face. Grief is often described as a roller coaster of emotions and it can be hard to make sense of our feelings and reactions and see a way forward after a loss.

Our Bereavement Support Services are offered to those that have to cope with grief after loss. As well as one-to-one counselling we offer various support groups including Bereavement Evenings and Coffee Mornings where you can meet up with others going through a similar experience.

While the support of family and friends can be invaluable, for different reasons this may not always be possible. If you have experienced the loss of someone who was being cared for by St. Michael’s Hospice services we can provide the following bereavement support:

  1. Specialist Bereavement Counselling: Offers the opportunity to talk about your loss in a supportive, non-judgmental and safe space
  2. Bereavement Evenings: Provide you with information about grief and loss and an opportunity to meet with others experiencing loss, in a caring and supportive atmosphere. It can be comforting to know that you are not alone in your feelings and being able to meet others who are facing a similar situation can be a positive step in coping with loss.
  3. Bereavement Coffee Mornings: These are held on the last Friday of the month from 11 am to 12.30 pm. They are facilitated by members of the Bereavement team and offer a welcoming and friendly space to meet and talk with others who are going through something similar to yourself. It can be reassuring to know that you are not alone in your grief and, although it can be beneficial to share your story, there is no pressure to do so. We have a quiet room in the Hospice and seating areas in our gardens if you wish to spend reflective time alone. Refreshments will be served.

Listed below are suggested bereavement books and resources to help with pre-bereavement, bereavement for children and young people and adults supporting children. Note that there are also some organisations you may find supportive on our useful links page.

Useful Resources for Pre and Post Bereavement

  • Let's talk about dying

  • Pre Bereavement Readings

  • Post Bereavement Reading for Pre-school children

  • Post Bereavement Reading for Children, 5-8 year olds

  • Post Bereavement Reading for Children, 9-12 year olds

  • Post Bereavement Reading for Children, 11-18 year olds

  • Suggested reading for adults supporting bereaved children

  • Supporting bereavement

  • Supporting children and teenagers when someone has a life-limiting illness

  • Talking about dying with people affected by dementia

  • Things to do before you die


Chaplaincy Service

The Chaplaincy Service offers listening, emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families and friends on the Inpatient Unit and in the community. We are there to explore questions that arise when affected by a life-limiting illness, or just to have a chat about things that matter to you. We are available in a totally non-judgmental way for people of all beliefs.

Complementary Therapy

Complementary therapies are gentle treatments used alongside conventional treatment in order to relieve stress and tension and to aid relaxation. These therapies can provide emotional support and may also help with the relief of physical symptoms, enhancing wellbeing and quality of life. Our Complementary Therapists offer treatments on the Inpatient Unit and in our outpatient facility, The Turner Centre.
Therapies we offer may include:

  • Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Reflexology
  • Indian Head Massage


Our Counselling service is offered to all those that are affected by a life-limiting illness and for those that have to cope with grief after loss. We can provide one-to-one counselling sessions where patients and relatives can talk about their experience and what’s important to them.

Our counsellors are registered with the appropriate professional bodies and will work with you in a confidential setting.

Social Support

Our Social Support Coordinator offers patients and their families practical support with care planning, accessing benefits, referrals to statutory services and signposting to other agencies where necessary. If a patient is being discharged from the Hospice, the Social Support Coordinator will assess the patient’s needs for discharge and work alongside their family and health care professionals to ensure a smooth transition from inpatient to community services.

Coffee and cake mornings

Our coffee and cake mornings are open every Friday from 10:30 until 12pm and provide an opportunity for anyone in the area to drop by and enjoy a hot drink and a delicious slice of homemade cake. We hope this mornings will provide the chance to socialise with friends, learn more about the hospice, or just enjoy our beautiful gardens.

There is no need to book, just come along and you’ll be very welcome.

Bereavement Walk & Talk

 Bereavement Walk & Talk

Monthly on the 3rd Friday of each month

Starting at the Hospice – meeting at 10.15 a.m for 10.30 start.

Bereaved relatives of past patients are invited to meet outside the Hospice at 10am for a leisurely 1hr walk returning to the Hospice of refreshments afterwards.  Unfortunately dogs or children are not permitted.

Maximum participants in one group 10 plus walk lead.

Please fill out the form below to book a place and send it to:

Pre Registration Form

  • Bereavement Walk and Talk Pre Registration Form


Chris Bagan, Patient and Family Support Lead, offers more insights into the work of the team in the video. She is joined by colleagues Jill Buxton and Dominic Thornton.

Learn more about the services offered by the Patient and Family Support Team

Further Information

If you feel you would benefit from any of the services offered by our Patient and Family Support Services team, or are interested in attending one of our Bereavement Evenings or Coffee Mornings, or our Support For Carers meeting, please contact us on 01256 848892 or email