A Day in the Life of a Children and Family Support Practitioner

Monday 04 February 2019

Jo Sparrow, Children and Family Support Practitioner at The Shakespeare Hospice speaks about her typical day.

After getting the children ready and out for school, I arrive at the hospice anytime between 8.30 and 9am. I usually have time to check any messages or emails that have come through. This morning, a couple of schools have contacted me, one asking to refer a pupil to the bereavement service and another asking about some possible training we could do for their staff. I make a note of these to contact later and prepare for my first appointment of the day.

I am seeing a young girl who I have been supporting since the sudden death of her sister last year. She comes to the session to talk about her sister and how this has affected her and her family. As she is only 7, she finds it difficult to verbalise how she feels and will often use toys or drawings to express some of the difficult feelings she has been having. Together we work on ways of helping her to cope, which she finds useful.

After the session we talk with mum as she wants to show her the drawing she did and share with her what we’ve been doing, which mum finds helpful too.

Before my next appointment,  I make a couple of quick phone calls before I head out to a local school where I have been supporting a brother and sister.

Their Dad is seriously ill and being cared for by out Hospice at Home team. Their teacher asks to speak to me whilst I’m there as they are not sure how to support the children in school at this time and worry about saying the wrong thing or upsetting them. I spend some time with them, reassuring them and giving them some ideas of ways they could help the children whilst they are in school.

It's then back to the hospice where after a quick lunch, I have an appointment with one of our support volunteers, who wants some help and advice on how to support a new client she has been given.
Our specially trained and skilled volunteers will provide many of the 1-1- sessions with our clients ,as well as helping with our some of our groups and residentials.

There is time to make another couple of phone calls, this time to a GP who is looking to refer one of her young patients for bereavement support and another to a parent who wants to talk to me about some concerns she has about her daughter who has been having nightmares and has been unable to sleep in her own bed since her dad died a few months ago.

I am then asked to introduce myself and the service to a new patient in Day Hospice, who has 2 teenage children and may need to access the service at some point in the future.

After talking with her for half an hour and giving her some further information to take home and read, I head back to start setting up for the bereavement group which we are running tonight.

Eight children, who have all been bereaved, meet regularly to share their stories and support one another. Activities are planned to help them with this. Tonight we are making Feel Better Boxes which will help the children to think about what they do, or have, and who helps them to cope when things get difficult. There will be of course, lots of biscuits and snacks as they are usually starving when they arrive after school!
Group usually finishes about 6.30, so after a quick tidy up, we make our way home, ready to start all over again tomorrow.

For more information about the Children and Young People's Service or Family Support, please contact Alison Burford, Family Support Practitioner or Jo Sparrow, Children and Family Support Practitioner at the Hospice on 01789 266852.

Family Support

Our Family Support Services include Children and Family Support Service, Bereavement Support, Counselling, Chaplaincy and Social Work Service.

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Registered Office: Church Lane, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 9UL