A SERVICE for families and NHS staff dealing with the death of a child has had a boost of support.

The Cardiff and Vale Health Charity (CVHC) will support the ongoing work of 2 Wish Upon A Star, who provide bereavement support for staff who have experienced the trauma of losing a young patient and for families who have suddenly lost a child or young adult.

The service has recently been extended to provide support to professionals from any field that have been involved with the sudden death of a child or young person under the age of 25.

Support is offered in a number of ways, all of which are confidential and arranged by 2 Wish Upon A Star, ensuring help is offered in a way that fits with work commitments and daily life.

A staff member from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “Dealing with the bereaved family of a child or young person is by far one of the hardest parts of our job.

“Since working with 2 Wish Upon A Star, we have completely changed the way we deal with the death of a child or young person.

“When a death occurs, their support allows us to dress the patient in new, age appropriate pyjamas and provide the family with immediate care by giving them memory boxes, which include items that can be of comfort to families during their darkest times.

“They also provide immediate support to families by contacting them within 24 to 48 hours after leaving the hospital.

“Not only is this service supporting families but it is supporting staff involved with the death by providing confidential support.

"Being able to help the family in this awful situation and knowing they will receive ongoing support is hugely reassuring and helps us as staff process the situation and ensures our wellbeing as a team.

Simone Joslyn, head of arts and health charity said: “We were pleased to support 2 Wish Upon A Star who provide this valuable service to our patients and staff.

"It is extremely important to us that our staff have access to support services that help with their emotional wellbeing during an extremely difficult time.”

Rhian Mannings, founder and chief executive of 2 Wish Upon A Star said: “The organisation was established to support families who have lost a child or young adult suddenly here in Wales.

“However, it became clear very quickly that the staff involved in these difficult situations were also affected and deserved support.

“Those who work in our emergency services and with bereaved families may wear a uniform and have a job to do but they are also people with feelings.

"They are also mums, dads, sons and daughters and to carry on working to the best of their ability they too sometimes need to talk and share the load.

“We really can’t thank CVHC enough for their support.

"This really will make a difference and help us to continue to support both families and staff.”

NHS Staff can access this support service by contacting: 01443 853125 or by emailing support@2wishuponastar.org for more information.

To find out more about CVHC please visit: www.healthcharity.wales