Family Support Services

We are here for patients, relatives, family, friends and children of patients who are receiving or have received hospice care.



Family members, including children, can benefit from the emotional support and guidance provided by our team from the moment of their referral to Saint Francis Hospice.


We offer support both before and after bereavement for those with a loved one in the care of the hospice. We help those affected understand and process their emotions, however they choose to show themselves, whether sadness, anger or even guilt.


As well as offering counselling we can also act as an advocate for you in dealing with external agencies. By liaising with housing, welfare or benefits agencies we ensure that logistical and financial concerns are put in order efficiently and fairly.


Our Child Bereavement Therapists (funded by Children in Need) support children through one to one and group counselling, art therapy, games and experience days. Read Kwabena's story, whose son and daughter received bereavement support after we looked after their mother in her final days.



Support for patients



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 Inpatient Unit, in Pemberton Place, 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 patients 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.


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 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.  Due to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, this group is currently invitation only.
We also have a booklet for those in need of bereavement support, which we hope is helpful to you, called 'Guidance and support after someone dies'. Click on the below button to view.


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.  

How to be referred:

All referrals to the Family Support Service must come from a health care professional involved in your care, for example a GP, District Nurse, or hospital consultant. 

Please visit our referrals page where you will find more information and the relevant forms


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