Windsor's celebrated hospice is extending the bereavement service it offers to include the whole community.

The Thames Hospice in Hatch Lane already offered support to partners, carers and other family members of patients who died there.

But following a pilot project among local GPs in East Berkshire it is now extending the service. It means that GPs can now refer to the bereavement support team partners, carers and other family members of patients who did not die in the hospice or use its home services.

Last year the hospice provided more than 1,700 counselling and bereavement support sessions to its patients and their loved ones.

Simon Smith, head of patient and family support at Thames Hospice, says: “The experience of bereavement and those unresolved complications within bereavement can be extremely stressful. We are pleased to be able to expand our provision and reach more local people who may need help from our counsellors during this difficult time.”

Stevie lives in Bracknell and used the Hospice’s bereavement counselling services following the death of her husband, Lou.

She said: “As hard as it is to pick up the phone and make that call, once you have there is so much help out there. If you can just allow yourself to talk it through and let it out, it helps you cope with what you’re feeling and it helps you move on. It doesn’t mean you can’t feel the loss; it just means you can cope with it better.”

Now anyone who has lost a loved one within the last 12 months can be referred for bereavement support with Thames Hospice through their East Berkshire GP.

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