Select Page
We primarily care for children living with life-shortening and terminal conditions. But, we also provide support for siblings too. Join Holly, one of our siblings workers, for the day as she supports siblings of children who come to the hospice.


Park up at the hospice and get ready for a busy day


Get a coffee and check my emails for anything urgent and check responses for the upcoming Elephant Club

We have two support groups for the brothers and sisters of the children who come to the hospice: The Elephant Club, for younger siblings aged six to 11 years old and an Adolescent Sibling Group, for those aged 12 to 17 years old.

When a child is diagnosed with a terminal or life-limiting illness everyone in the family is affected. The stress of frequent hospital visits, multiple treatments, and the other harsh realities of dealing with a terminal or life-limiting illness can take a major toll on family life. That inevitably includes brothers and sisters, who find it upsetting to see their sibling’s health decline. It can also mean they have less time and attention from their parents as their vulnerable sibling often needs 24/7 care.

What happens at Siblings Club


Start to prepare resources for the visit this afternoon. Resources could be anything from books, games, craft activities , or worksheets to steer conversation. A particular favourite activity is often to make a worry box or design our own Minecraft characters (it always shocks siblings that I know what Minecraft is, and that I also play it in my spare time!)

Working with young people

‘One of the most important parts of what I do is to listen and be guided by the young person. Being open and honest with them is vital.

I can remember working with a bereaved young person who asked me why their sibling’s room had been so cold after they had died. We had a really interesting discussion about how the room needed to be kept cold so they could have more cuddles after she had died and before she was buried. It wasn’t a conversation I was prepared for, but they seemed so much more at ease having an answer. It may not have been part of my plan for that session, but the question was asked and I had spoken to parents beforehand about being really open with the young person, and they were happy with my response afterwards. Finding an age-appropriate response within a matter of seconds and being able to think on my feet is definitely something that I have become accustomed to!’


Phone call with a parent of a child who is not receiving 1:1 support from me but via the parent (the parent may get support on how to help with a very young child) We speak for about 45 minutes, and I suggest a few books that may help fit the narrative of where they are in their journey. After I write up the notes from this conversation.

10 - 10:45AM

10AM – Attend referrals meeting where Community and Family Support Services meet to allocate families who have been referred.

10:30 – Speak with colleagues supporting the family I have been allocated to in order to understand the family better.


Ring the parent of a child who has been allocated to me who requires support.

Supporting the whole family

‘The community and family support services team support the whole family. From the Outreach Nurses to the Social workers, we work together to ensure the best outcomes for our families. Sibling support play a vital role in this. We know that children and young people are often reluctant to share their worries with parents. Perhaps they don’t want to add to what is already going on for them, or perhaps they don’t really know whats worrying them, they just know it feels ‘funny’.

Sibling support offer a space for young people to talk about things. To be amongst peers who have shared experiences. We run groups every other month  (one month being our Elephant club which is for 6-11, and the other being for our adolescent siblings club which for 12-17 year olds.) This allows the children to have that peer support that we know is really important. We also offer 1:1 support for some siblings to focus on more specific needs to do with being a sibling, This may be at home, at school, in the hospice, or sometimes in the community.’


Go downstairs and speak with a sib staying in house. We go for ice cream on Cowley Road. We will talk through their worries. I will then update parent and write up notes.


Lunchtime. I grab a sandwich and make sure my bag is ready for a sibling school visit this afternoon.


Heading to my visit. We cover the whole of the Thames Valley, so a visit could be anywhere from Gloucester to Luton, or Warwick to Basingstoke. We also support siblings face to face from 6-18 years old, so visits can vary a lot in terms of what activities work best. Afterwards I will touch base with parents so they can carry on the discussion when the young person gets home, as I tend to find I have a better response if I see siblings at school.


Arrive back at the hospice write up notes from my visits.


Check calendar for the week, make sure visits are booked in. Check emails

Photos from Siblings Clubs


Finish for the week. Make sure out of office is on etc