Our family support staff talking to a patient attending day therapyfamilies attending a creative class for family support

Family and Carers Support

Sue and Amanda 2 300 x 280Our Family Support team is here for patients, relatives, family, friends and children of patients who are receiving or have received hospice care.
Aside from your medical care, you will probably have lots of questions relating to emotional and practical issues.

Our Family Support services once you are referred to the hospice will help you, your family and your loved ones deal with everything you are facing at this time. All of our services are provided free of charge.

Please use the menu to the left to see how we can help you. You can contact us on 01708 753319 for more information. 
For patients

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Support for families and carers

When supporting our patients, their quality of life is our highest concern. This means their whole lives, physical, emotional, spiritual and social. Your loved ones play a huge role in what’s happening to you and this is a time when they need support as well.

Our children and family therapists help the loved ones of those facing life-limiting illnesses cope as best they can and show them how to effectively support each other. They are experts in helping adults, children and young people of all ages.

Our support services are free and available from the moment you are diagnosed.

Practical support

Saint Francis Hospice offers advice and support to help those experiencing hospice care maximise their quality of life. You may need help liaising with your employer or your child’s school. You may worry about what happens if you can’t cope at home. Financial concerns can also become a factor when applying for additional funding or benefits.

Whatever the issue, our team can help you get on with the rest of your life without the frustrations and limitations of practical concerns.

Emotional support

A crucial part of hospice care lies in helping people deal with anxiety and find the peace to enjoy the company of family and friends. Emotional support can be as important to your care as clinical intervention, so we’re here for you from your diagnosis onwards.

Our counsellors help people in our IPU, Day Therapy, as outpatients, or in their own homes. Communication is key to these sessions and we provide an encouraging space for you to talk openly and confidentially about anything that’s troubling you.

Enabling people to express themselves in this way helps them come to terms with their illness more easily and communicate more clearly with those they love. If you need someone to help you talk things through, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

For more information on any of the above, please call the Family Support team on 01708 753319.

For families and carers
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Carers Drop In 

When was the last time anyone asked ‘how are you?’ Being a carer is hard work, so Saint Francis Hospice offers monthly drop-ins between 2:30 and 4:00pm on the second Tuesday of every month. The Carers Drop In is open to any carer of someone with a life-limiting illness within our catchment, whether you have a connection to the hospice or not.

Join us for:  
  • practical advice and support
  • time to chat with other carers  
  • a friendly ear and a cup of tea  
  • time out and some breathing space.  

Walk On 

Open to patients, their loved ones, carers and dogs. The Saint Francis Hospice walking group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 9:45am. Starting from The Green at Havering-atte-Bower, join us for an hour-long walk through the stunning countryside surrounding our grounds. 

This is a chance to enjoy the understanding and companionship of others experiencing hospice care, while getting that sense of wellbeing that comes with exercise in the great outdoors!    

Please remember to wear appropriate footwear and bring a bottle of water.   


HOPE is a unique support group for the friends and families of those coping with life-limiting illnesses. It was originally developed by West & Co funeral directors in Dagenham, but it's now delivered at the hospice by two trained volunteers.

Over a six-week period you’ll be offered a safe space to explore your grief in a supportive and encouraging environment. With a combination of education and interaction, this group helps you work through the emotions you’re feeling and move forward with adjustments to your future life. 

Bereavement Support 

The bereavement support group meets at Saint Francis Hospice on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Whether newly bereaved or still dealing with the loss of a loved one after several months, all are welcome.  Attendance varies from month to month but you can rest assured of the same warm welcome from the expert staff on our bereavement service. This is an understanding and open-minded group, with everyone having in common the death of a loved one under the care of the hospice.  You don’t need to attend every meeting and you don’t even need to let us know you’re coming. Just drop in if you feel the need for a friendly chat. 

Better Together Programme

Better Together is a weekly meeting of those caring for a friend or relative with a life-limiting illness. We understand that the health and wellbeing of carers is as just as important as the needs of patients, so Saint Francis Hospice is proud to offer a break from the challenges and stresses of the role. 

Join us for:
  • an opportunity to share experiences and learn from other carers 
  • a time to receive support for yourself  
  • chances to learn and develop your role 
  • some time to have fun! 

Held on-site, the group is facilitated by members of our family support team and consists of eight two-hour sessions. If you can’t manage all eight sessions, feel free to attend whenever you can. 

Carers groups (regular carer events)

We hold regular events for carers throughout the year. From our afternoon teas to the Carer’s Christmas Cracker, stay tuned for details of forthcoming events.  

For more information on any of the above, please call the Family Support team on 01708 753319.
Leaflets and useful information
We know that the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness prompts questions, challenges and confusion. We're here to support you both practically and emotionally. Below is a selection of leaflets and guidance that you may find helpful. 

Family Support Services - an overarching guide to what we do. 
Bereavement Support Services - more detail on the ways we can support you through bereavement. 
When someone you love is seriously ill - Some practical advice and guidance to help navigate your way through the illness of a loved one.