Palliative Care at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Contact details

Phone: (02) 9845 2154 or (02) 9845 0000 and ask for pager 6794

Fax: (02) 9845 2111

Location: Nursing Liaison Office

 Our specialist palliative care service is a multi-disciplinary team that includes:

  • Doctors (Staff Specialist and Fellow)
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Bereavement Coordinator
  • Social Worker
  • Psychologist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Volunteer Coordinator

Our team will provide support to patients and their families whether they are at home or during hospital admissions. We will support the primary medical team of a patient referred to our service to enhance the coordination of care across the hospital and community setting. Our team can provide advice and support for complex symptom management and psychosocial support for all members of the family.

We offer a Palliative Care Family Suport Volunteer Program. Caring for a seriously ill child at home can be difficult and can place enormous physical and emotional strain on the whole family. Everyone in the family can feel they need a break and some time out.

Also see Pain Medicine for more information.

Bereavement support

The Bereavement Support Service offers group support and, in some cases, individual counselling to bereaved family members. Bereaved parent, grandparent and siblings groups are held regularly during the year. Groups for parents/grandparents are available face-to-face or via telephone and email.

A Bereavement Support Newsletter published twice a year is also available for parents and carers. For more information about counselling and/or support groups, please phone our Bereavement Coordinator on (02) 9845 0000 and page 7013.

A Grief and Bereavement Brochure is available.

A bereavement support brochure is also available. 

View videos to help parents, carers and other family members with information and support around  grief and bereavement.

Bereavement Groups

  • Newly bereaved information session - An education and support session for parents in the first three - six months after their child’s death
  • Bereaved parent support groups - Support groups for parents whose child has died. Topics include introducing your family, supporting siblings and extended family and coping with anniversaries and special occasions. Groups are held for two hours a week over four weeks.
  • Bereaved parent telephone support group – These groups are held for parents who cannot come to the face to face groups. Priority is given to families living in rural/regional areas, but all families are welcome to register for the tele-group.

What are bereavement groups?

Bereavement groups are support groups where the members attend to share their story or hear the stories of others in the group. There is no pressure to share, and often the benefit of attending a group can be hearing how others have coped in similar situations.

Why should I attend a support group?

Support groups are not for everybody. Some individuals find it helpful to talk about their grief in a safe place with other people who have experienced a similar loss. Support groups can give members an opportunity to share ways of coping, get confirmation that what they are feeling is 'normal' or just debrief with people who have been there.

Who are groups for?

All family members are welcome to attend bereavement groups. Groups are offered for parents/carers, siblings and grandparents. Groups meet at the Hospital as well as at community centres for those who do not feel comfortable returning to the Hospital. Telephone support groups are also offered for families who do not live in Sydney.

Staff

Palliative Care

  • Dr Susan Trethewie, Department Head of Palliative Care
  • Dr Martha Mherekumombe, Staff Specialist
  • Dr Rachel Halpin-Evans, Palliative Care Fellow
  • Jude Frost, Clinical Nurse Consultant
  • Emma Coombes, Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Denise Potter, Social Work
  • Gail Nankivell, Physiotherapist
  • Meaghan Dowling, Occupational Therapist
  • Sarah Potter, Volunteer Co-ordinator
  • Elizabeth Shepherd, Program Development and Quality Manager
  • Heather Nicholas, Senior Administration Officer

Factsheets