12/02/2022

Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

Charitable donations fund counsellor to offer families psychological support

THANKS to donations to Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity
of Hywel Dda University Health Board, a family counsellor has been
appointed to the Paediatric Palliative Care Team.

A two-year pilot project providing the new family counsellor will
promote the wellbeing of children and young people and their families
living with a life-limiting or life-threatening diagnosis and give them
emotional support.

The family counsellor will be a huge benefit to the service, providing
improvements to the overall patient and family experience across the
three counties of Hywel Dda.

Throughout a child or young person’s illness, the patient, parents,
carers, or siblings may experience relationship difficulties, anxiety,
and mental health issues.

A family counsellor is able to put in place preventative measures which
can have a direct impact on the patient, parents, carers, and siblings,
enhancing their coping skills and promoting resilience and quality of
life.

The family counsellor will work alongside the Paediatric Palliative Care
Play Specialist to enhance the delivery of care, either within the home,
virtually, or by linking into community services such as social care and
education.

Rebecca Mcdonald, Paediatric Palliative Care Nurse, said: “Six months
into this transformational project, we are already seeing direct
benefits and huge improvements to the emotional and psychological health
and wellbeing of our children and their families living with a
life-limiting or life-threatening condition in Hywel Dda through
individual, family and group counselling work.

“Having the family counsellor embedded in our team has been beneficial
to improving care delivery to these children and families. The support
being offered is improving resilience and empowering them as
individuals, giving them the tools to enhance and support their coping
mechanisms around anticipatory grief and bereavement. We are excited to
see how this project develops and progresses as it is clear at this
early stage it is having such a positive impact.”

A service user said: “The family counsellor has been crucial in the
aftermath of losing my son. Having constant and regular appointments has
been helpful. I am so thankful this service is available to me.”

Another service user added: “The family counsellor is easy to talk to
and provided a safe and non-judgmental environment to discuss all the
issues surrounding palliative care and the effect that this has on our
family life.”

Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official
charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “The support of
our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what
the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are
extremely grateful for every donation we receive.”

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