Bereavement support service expands after helping hundreds since launch

Hanna McDowell, head of therapy at St Elizabeth Hospice

Hanna McDowell, head of therapy at St Elizabeth Hospice - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

A crucial bereavement support service is expanding to help hundreds more people around Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic highlighting the importance of technology in enabling communities to help one another, the joint partnership between St Elizabeth Hospice and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) will now see the employment of three emotional and wellbeing staff members dedicated to the area.

The LivingGrief service is the latest addition to the free specialist palliative care services provided in Great Yarmouth and Waveney by the partnership, with the bereavement service already supporting more than 250 patients and their families since June 2019.

Beccles Hospital

Beccles Hospital - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

Hanna McDowell, head of therapy at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: "We understand initiating conversations about death and bereavement can be very difficult, but often not talking about these subjects can leave people feeling isolated, especially during the unusual circumstances brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This is why we have developed our support service LivingGrief as we want to enable as many people as possible in our community to have access to bereavement information and support to ensure nobody is left feeling isolated.

"There is no right or wrong way to experience grief, but through LivingGrief we want to bring people together and let them know they are not alone and we are here to help, listen and talk whenever needed."

Operating from Beccles Hospital, in the community and through the service's 24-hour advice line OneCall, the partnership has supported more than 1,850 patients and their families since its launch in April 2019.

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Adele Madin, ECCH's executive director of operations, said: "It was our ambition on launching our specialist palliative care service that we would continue to grow and enhance it to benefit patients and their loved ones in Norfolk and Waveney.

"I am delighted that we are now able to offer this extra support and I hope that it makes a very real difference, bringing comfort when people most need it."

To find out more about LivingGrief, call the emotional and wellbeing enquiry line, which is open weekdays between 9am and 4pm on 0300 303 5196.

To contact the 24-hour specialist palliative care advice line OneCall, call 0800 567 0111.