The Life>time services are designed to help support people affected by life changing or terminal illness by offering emotional and psychological support.

Following a difficult or terminal diagnosis, the patient and family are often left completely alone and unsupported to deal with what can be devastating and traumatic news. Life>time services are there  to help people through that process of taking in the news and dealing with change, as well as being a safe and supportive space to talk about their experiences. The service is open for patients and their carers or close family members.

Emotional Support

A serious illness can be a very distressing time for you and those who care for you. On top of all the physical symptoms and medical issues there are the anxieties about what is happening to you, the effect it is having on your family and even a questioning about why this may be happening. It can be a very confusing and overwhelming time.

Serious illness can also be a very lonely and isolating experience. Emotional support means we meet to talk about what’s happening to you or your family, your hopes and fears for the future as well as anything else you wish to discuss.

We meet when we need to, as and when you feel the need to talk to someone about what is going on. These conversations could be weekly, fortnightly or monthly and can be face to face or over the phone. We can meet here at the hospice or at your home, wherever you feel most comfortable. You may or may not want your partner/other family member to be present, in which case we can discuss what you would find most helpful to you.

Individual Counselling

Sometimes you may feel that you wish to explore your feelings and thoughts about your current situation a bit more deeply. You may reflect that events or losses in the past or relationships in the present are playing a part in what is going on for you, or just that you need help in unravelling just how you feel and what it all means. Illness can often make us question some of our most deeply held beliefs and can also lead to a sense that we have lost our identity.

Individual counselling normally takes place at the same time every week as a regular appointment. Some people find a short series of sessions enough while others have counselling for several months. Initially we would arrange for a series of six sessions and then review how useful you are finding these sessions and extend them if necessary.

Couple/Family Support or Counselling

Serious illness is not only hard on the person, it can also be particularly hard on their loved ones. It may be that you feel that someone else would benefit from hearing what you have to say or from sharing their experiences too, so we also offer a service that enables you to talk to the Life>time counsellor with your partner or other family members.  

This can be helpful to communicate your needs to others you are close to, as well as having a chance to hear how they feel about the situation. Sometimes it helps to have another person there to guide these conversations in a safe, non-judgemental space. Frequently families try to protect each other from how they feel about serious illness out of a natural desire not to cause distress. But sometimes, when everyone is trying to protect others, important feelings get lost or buried and a lack of communication causes difficulties.

Lastly, whatever option you choose, you are always free to move between these options and are encouraged to discuss your needs as these may change over time.

Ben, Harlington Hospice’s End of Life Counsellor, has had these conversations with patients and carers with End of Life conditions:

    I'm keen to try a new chemotherapy that his doctor thinks might prolong my life but the side effects may make me uncomfortable. My wife is doubtful but does not know how to bring this up with me 

 I have accepted that I'm dying and along with my two grown up children I have planned my funeral. My greatest struggle will be leaving my children behind.

  I have decided not to continue with chemotherapy as it makes me feel so unwell. Although I understand that this may make my life shorter, but would prefer a shorter life with less tiredness so I can enjoy being around my family in the time she has left.

I'm too tired to continue with chemotherapy but my wife and children think that this means that I'm ‘giving up’

Surinder is 37, married with two young children. It all seems so unfair and awful beyond words…

I'm so very scared about it all and doesn’t know what to do.

Clare is determined to try every treatment and not let this awful disease beat her. She wants to be strong and remain positive as this can only help.

If you or someone you care for are in a similar situation and you would like someone to talk to confidentially, please contact Ben.

For more information on this service please email [email protected]