Counselling and Bereavement Services

Who is the service available for?

The Bereavement Support Service is available throughout the Highlands for anyone who has been bereaved by the death of a relative or friend cared for by Highland Hospice, as an in-patient, or as someone who used any of the Hospice services. It is equally available to the family or friends of former patients of specialist nurses involved in palliative care across the Highland. It is available irrespective of when the person may have died.

If you are unsure whether this applies to you, please make contact and we can clarify things.

Making contact

Generally speaking, when someone in whose care the Hospice has had direct involvement dies,  a member of the Bereavement Team will make contact with the family approximately six or eight weeks afterwards.

If you wish to make use of the service, or would like to discuss any aspect of what we offer, please write, phone, or email, and ask for the Bereavement Support Team. Your message will be passed to us and a member of the team will be in contact with you as soon as possible.

If you are a healthcare professional and would like to refer someone to the Bereavement Service you can use the this form.

Enquiries can be made to:
Tina McGarrell, Clinical Secretary, on 01463 227901

Services available

Taking steps - A walking group in Inverness for people who have been bereaved.  

When you are grieving, it can be difficult to find motivation to get outside and to exercise, even if you want to and believe it’s a good thing to do. Finding sustainable ways to look after your general health and wellbeing can be an important part of grieving. It is increasingly recognised that being active in green spaces has wide ranging benefits.   Taking Steps offers gentle yet brisk health and wellbeing walks in a friendly and supportive group of people who have all recently experienced the loss of someone they love.

Taking Steps does not offer formal support but is supported by trained walk leaders from Highland Hospice. People are welcome to join the group during the first year or so following their bereavement. All walkers in the group are ‘in the same boat;’ giving the opportunity to walk in companiable silence, to chat with others who have similar experiences, or a mixture of both.  

We meet regularly in central Inverness. Gentle and accessible walks include the Whin Park, River Ness and its Islands, and along the Caledonian Canal towpath. The walks are no longer than an hour, and you will be made very welcome, whatever your level of walking ability. After walking, you are welcome to stay on for refreshments and more company & conversation at a nearby café.

There is no charge for the walks, but you will need to bring some money if you wish to come to the café afterwards.

For more information and to register, please contact Simon Spence at Highland Hospice Bereavement Services on 01463 227901

You do not need to have had previous contact with Highland Hospice to walk with Taking Steps.  

Taking Steps is a partnership with Step It Up Highland, a health walk initiative which aims to promote walking and its benefits to people from all walks of life. You can find out more about regular local health walks across the Highlands at www.pfw.org.uk


Individual Counselling

Counselling is available for people in bereavement. This is usually offered on an individual basis and offers an opportunity, in a confidential setting, to explore and address  the personal issues which may be making the experience of grief particularly difficult.

Working together in counselling is an evolving, negotiated, and agreed process that aims to be responsive to your changing and developing needs and wishes. You can read more about what to expect from counselling here.  We also have produced an information sheet which aims to clarify the basis of our agreement to work together. It is intended to give you confidence that you know what to expect.  You can download that sheet here or at the bottom of the page.

Support in a group

Sometimes, for some people, meeting in a group is preferable to one-to-one meetings. From time to time, the Hospice offers support to people through participation in a 'closed' group of people who have been bereaved. This gives the opportunity to meet others who may have similar experiences, and to benefit from mutual support and sharing of experiences and ideas.

Please make contact if you would like information about any forthcoming groups.


Chaplaincy

The Hospice Chaplain offers spiritual and pastoral support to people in bereavement. This support is non-denominational and is offered to people who have a specific religious faith as well as to those who would not describe themselves as ‘religious’. 

The Hospice Chaplain can help with questions about funerals and can liaise with faith communities around the Highlands.

Social Work

Bereavement can raise many practical issues. The  Hospice Social Worker, Susan MacLeod, can offer a wide range of advice and support.

Support for children

Help and advice is available to parents/carers who are supporting a child who has been bereaved. The Hospice Social Worker, Susan MacLeod, is the best person to contact about this in the first instance.

Books of Remembrance

The Hospice has a Book of Remembrance into which a loved one’s name, and a particular memory, can be entered. Some weeks after a bereavement a letter is sent to the family regarding this. The books for current and past years are kept in a quiet room in the Hospice and you are welcome to look at them at any mutually convenient time.  

Time to Remember

The Hospice Chaplain, with members of the counselling and bereavement team, arranges regular ‘by invitation’ memorial events for those who wish to remember someone who has died and in whose care the Hospice was involved. Invitations to these events are sent out in advance. Other memorial events that are open to all are advertised in the Highland press.