Who is Family Support Service for?
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity family support is available to all families whose son or daughter is affected by a life threatening illness. This includes parents, carers, the unwell child or young person, brothers, sisters, grandparents and help with extended family members to support each other.
Any family can receive support from the point of their child or young person's diagnosis (including antenatal and neonatal periods when diagnosis has been made) and receive support with young people during transition towards adult services up to the age of 18.
What does the service provide?
Rainbow Trust provides emotional and practical support to families whose son or daughter is affected by a life threatening or terminal illness.
Support is parent / carer led to ensure our Family Support Workers offer support that is specifically tailored towards each child, young person and parent / carer in the family. Support includes:
- Providing emotional support to each member of the family throughout the child or young person's illness.
- Spending time with the unwell child or young person at home or in hospital.
- Accompanying and supporting parents and their child or young person during clinic and hospital appointments.
- Providing short breaks for the unwell child and siblings which may include fun activities or trips to local amenities.
- Helping maintain normality in the home by working with and caring for siblings, to ensure the usual activities are continued for the family.
- Providing practical support, housework and shopping.
- Providing end of life care and ongoing bereavement work.
We constantly strive to improve our services and make sure we support families in a way that they want and need. Families have told us that there are five key areas where we make the biggest difference in their lives:
- We improve the family's ability to manage stress.
- We maintain parents' / carers' stability and confidence.
- We enable families to spend quality time together.
- We improve the quality of children and young people’s lives.
- We enable families to keep communicating through loss and bereavement.
How do I access the service?
Anyone can make a referral to the Family Support Team manager, provided the family has given consent. You can phone or email the team office, or email the team manager.
The service is free. Rainbow Trust describes life threatening conditions as those for which curative treatment may be feasible but might fail, for example cancer or irreversible organ failure. Severe neurological conditions may also be deemed life threatening.
Once a referral has been accepted, families will be contacted and visited by the team manager within two weeks. This timescale is flexible to accommodate family circumstances and availability. The assessment can take place in the family home or at another convenient location.
At the assessment visit, the Family Support Manager will:
- Provide a Family Information Pack (including child friendly information);
- Listen to parents / carers, children and young people about their circumstances, needs, wishes and choices;
- Describe in detail the support we are able to offer families;
- Assess family eligibility for support and develop a plan with families of the support agreed.
Support is available from Monday - Friday, 8am - 6pm. Some Family Support Work visits may be for an hour, others for the whole day. The frequency and duration of support is planned in accordance with family choice, Rainbow Trust’s prioritisation of support to families, and staff availability.
Rainbow Trust operates a 24-hr service for families in crisis, which includes a 24-hour dedicated on call number, and the possibility of extended hours of family support during weekdays and weekends.
Tomasz Czarnecki is Team Manager for the West London Family Support Team.
Telephone: 01895 448378 (FSW Team Office) or 01372 363438 (Head Office)
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity; West London Family Support Team, Unit 2, 7 The Green, West Drayton, UB7 7PL