How we support families through bereavement

Contemplating the death of your child at any time is a thing that nobody should have to do, yet this is the reality for parents who have a child diagnosed with a life threatening or terminal illness. Some may choose not to acknowledge the shadow of this in their lives, but it will be there none the less.

We know that the way families are supported before they face bereavement can have a lasting impact on how they manage their feelings and new reality, as time moves on.

Rainbow Trust Family Support Workers understand that the trauma of a child’s death is both an emotional and physical process for a family. The place and environment in which a child dies can be a key factor in how the family begins to process what has happened.

There is no right place for a child to die and sometimes the situation or medical needs of the child will dictate where this happens. Where there are options, it is so important that, ahead of time, families can safely have that conversation and express what is important to them. Families’ circumstances are unique and the things that will be of physical and emotional comfort to them will also be unique.

Making choices, being made aware of options, and allaying fears and assumptions are a vital way in which families can be supported at this unimaginably difficult time.

Endings are so important and can have a significant influence on how families step forward into a life without their child. In the moment it will be very difficult to make choices and decisions. Wherever possible and in response to the family's needs and circumstances we can sensitively open the conversation, make suggestions and signpost to appropriate professionals who can offer guidance.

For information and bereavement resources, please visit our bereavement support page.