Treetops Hospice supports Funeral Directors call for increased bereavement support within schools

Categories: Care.

Treetops Hospice supports the National Association of Funeral Directors campaign to provide age-appropriate bereavement education to the national curriculum.

Treetops Hospice has offered bereavement training for primary schools across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire since March 2022. The training helps teachers and school staff to better understand how 5 to 11 year olds comprehend death, how to recognise common reactions to a bereavement, and how to support children when a loved one dies.

Jules Kirk, Treetops Therapeutic Services Manager and Head of Children’s Services explained more:

“How a child experiences grief depends on many factors, not just their age. Their reactions can be affected by what’s happening in society and what is seen in the media as well as cognitive ability, emotional literacy, wider family, their culture and beliefs.

“In our training, we explain what children believe about death at different ages. Younger children have a limited concept of time, for example. So they often view death as a temporary absence of that loved one. Older children understand that death is irreversible. But they sometimes believe that the person who died can still see or hear them.

“We upskill school staff to recognise these reactions in their pupils and give them the skills and confidence to help children in a safe and appropriate way.”

Bereavement training topics include:
• Overview of grief models
• Understanding of death for 5–11-year-olds
• Developmental reactions to death and bereavement
• Understanding what helps bereaved children
• The language of death and dying – and the importance of honest conversations
• Empathic listening and appropriate language to use
• Activities to do in school that help

There is a charge for this training which allows the charity to offer their hospice services free of charge to counselling clients and patients.

Five local schools and up to 100 staff have completed the training to date.

The hospice initially developed the training as a frontline response to the COVID-19 pandemic after recognising how difficult this period was on the younger generation. Being in and out of isolation, not having family and friends around, and being unable to say goodbye at funerals, all had a detrimental effect on how children and young people coped after the death of a loved one.

Last year, Treetops provided over 900 bereavement counselling sessions for children and young people. The charity also offers a specialised non-talking therapy programme for young people who have been significantly affected by the traumatic bereavement of a parent, carer or sibling.


Photo Caption: Jules Kirk, Treetops Therapeutic Services Manager and Head of Children’s Services


About Treetops Hospice

Treetops Hospice, the leading end-of-life care charity in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions, and their families.

Treetops celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2023 and is proud to support thousands of local people and their families every year.

The charity provides support from diagnosis onwards for patients with conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions.

Last year, our team of Hospice at Home nurses provided over 20,000 hours of care to terminally-ill patients, working day and night to give much-needed support.

We have a team of bereavement counsellors who provide over 4,500 counselling sessions – more than 900 of them to children and young people. Wellbeing team members provide valuable information and support to those who need it.

Treetops are lucky to have over 400 amazing volunteers who help to keep the hospice running smoothly.

Treetops is doing all it can to continue to support those in most need and welcomes donations to ensure the future of the hospice and its services:

A counselling session for a bereaved child costs £34.50. An overnight Hospice at Home nursing shift for a patient at the end of life costs £108.

Treetops Hospice, Derby Road, Risley, Derbyshire, DE72 3SS
0115 949 1264 |
Registered Charity Number 519540


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