Social work and welfare

When someone is very ill, everyone in the family is affected. St Christopher’s care extends beyond the treatment of physical symptoms to consider the emotional and social needs of patients, families and their friends and carers.

As we deal with the coronavirus pandemic our top priority is your safety. That’s why we have made some changes to the support available from the Social Work and Welfare teams. Both these services are still available to provide support over the phone. If a social worker is already supporting you, they will contact you directly to discuss your needs. For people staying on our wards, the social workers are still available to meet with you as required.

St Christopher’s has a team of qualified and experienced social workers who help people to deal with the emotional and psychological consequences of someone close to them dying. We offer a range bereavement support for anyone whose relative or friend was cared for by St Christopher’s. Our qualified and experienced social workers and counsellors provide individual and group support and welfare officers are available to advise on financial difficulties.

Our team of trained Bereavement Service Volunteers brings a variety of experience to our care at the hospice and can visit people in their own homes if needed.

St Christopher’s organises an evening meeting about every three months after bereavement, these offer an opportunity to meet with others in a similar situation and talk together.

The Candle Project offers support to children and families including those who have not had contact with St Christopher’s before bereavement.

Every year, near to Christmas, we hold an outdoor Remembrance Tree Service of Dedication when dedicated lights are switched on a large tree in the grounds of St Christopher’s. There is an opportunity for people to dedicate a light in remembrance of someone close. In December our Light up a Life church events and our inclusive, secular remembrance ceremony held at a garden centre in the Bromley area offer people from the local community the chance to come together at what for many people is often a difficult time of the year and remember someone who has died. For further information about any of these events, ring our fundraising department on 020 8768 4575. People from all St Christopher’s areas are welcome at any of these events.

Social Workers and Welfare

Living with a serious illness can affect every aspect of a patient”s life, including relationships. There may be a great many extra strains and stresses at home and in daily life.

How can a social worker help?

It can be helpful to talk about feelings and discuss any concerns with someone not too emotionally or personally close.

A social worker can see patients on their own or with anyone they choose: carers, family members or friends. There may be significant things that a patient wants to say to people close to them. The social worker can help these conversations along and talk about practical planning.

Children and young people may also need help in understanding the illness and the changes it has caused. They may have their own questions, worries and fears. A social worker can advise patients and support them and their children or grandchildren during the illness and afterwards.

Carers have an important role and might welcome the opportunity to talk over how they are managing and be put in touch with any additional help and resources available.

How can a welfare officer help?

Practical and financial problems can arise when someone is ill. There may be worries about unpaid bills, extra expenses, or reduced income.  Our welfare officers are trained to help maximise income for those under the care of St Christopher’s.