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Family Support


When a child or young adult has a life limiting condition everyone in the family is affected. 


Coming to terms with a new diagnosis, or a family member’s changing condition, can create many challenges, and families can feel overwhelmed by the choices and decisions they have to make. 


Our experienced and qualified Family Support and Bereavement Team is here to help families with the concerns that go beyond the physical care of their child or young adult. 

Coming from a range of professional backgrounds we are able to offer emotional, spiritual and social support to parents, partners, siblings and other involved family members. This support can begin from the first stay at Helen and Douglas House, through to bereavement support.


Family Support visits can take place while you are staying at the hospice, or at home and are on offer to the whole family. You may be seen by one of our Family Support and Bereavement Workers, our Social Worker, or Chaplain.


We also run 3 workshops per year for parents and carers.  These usually have a particular focus or theme, (often suggested by parents themselves), and are a great opportunity for families to come together, share experiences and support each other. Please see the calendar of events for what’s coming up over the next few months. 


For siblings aged 6-17 there is The Elephant Club, which meets every other month.


Meet the team 

Our chaplain provides spiritual care to chidren, young adults and families, as well as being on the care teams in both houses.  The chaplain can help with information on any of the diverse places of worship to be found in Oxford and may be approached about any spiritual matter, whether specifically ‘religious’ or not; as well as offering the more traditional Christian ministries of prayer, baptism, Holy Communion and anointing.  Occasionally simple religious services are arranged within the Houses, to which all children, young adults and families are very welcome.  The chaplain can also help with the planning of special services e.g. funerals and services of remembrance.

Our Social Workers work closely with families across a range of issues and support needs.  They can help with care packages and advice on benefits and charity grants, as well as being advocates for families within their care network.. They also co-ordinate reviews and referrals here at Helen & Douglas House and are involved with families who are making the transition from children’s to adult services.

Our Family Support and Bereavement Workers are Lorraine Byles, Marie Murray and Lilla Machnio. They work directly with families offering emotional support around the many issues of living with a life limited child or brother or sister, or dealing with grief and loss. Marie also works on the Helen House Care Team and Lorraine is part of the Douglas House Referrals Team.

Our team email address is

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