The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow currently cares for adults with a life limiting or terminal illness and also supports their families. Annually they look after around 1,200 new patients and, on average, each patient will have two members of their family who need their support. These family members include children from the age of 2 years.
In 2013, the Hospice received a grant from DM Thomas Foundation for Young People to support the children whom they come into contact with at what is undoubtedly the most difficult time of their young lives. These children have all experienced bereavement having lost a parent, grandparent or sibling. Many of them have great difficulty in talking about their feelings and their fears for the future, and are concerned about not wishing to upset, even more, their remaining parent or guardian. As a result they may bottle up their feelings which, if not addressed, can manifest themselves into impacting their young lives in a very negative way e.g. depression, problems at school or delinquency. Research tells us that following early parental loss in particular, there is the potential for long-term psychological problems.
With the help of the Foundation, the Hospice’s Family Support Team were able to fund specialist bereavement counselling sessions for a number of young children either on a one to one basis, or as part of group therapy. These sessions are specifically designed for the age of each child, for example, for many of the younger children they will be in the form of play. The ultimate aim is to ensure that each child understands what has happened, is reassured that while their life will change they will still be loved and cared for, can grieve for the person they have lost, and that there is no long term psychological damage which will affect them in the future. The Hospice is very grateful to the Foundation for helping to shape the lives of these children.
DM Thomas Foundation awarded a grant of £2,000 to The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in 2013.