Sunflower Carers Group

Sunflower Carers Group

Caring for and supporting people we love can be one of the most satisfying and special things we ever do, but without support this kind of caring can have an overwhelming effect on our lives. The Sunflower Carers Group is a professionally developed programme designed to facilitate wellbeing for carers, families and supporters of people with palliative care needs.

Caring for someone who is in a palliative stage of their illness can bring added pressure and stress, and carers in this situation find that they often need different kinds of support and information. One of the things we know can help is having a good grounding and knowledge about what is out there and who can be called on as things become more difficult.

This six week programme has been designed to help carers cope with some of the difficulties that result from supporting and caring. It provides an opportunity to meet other carers in a similar position. The sessions are led by staff from the Family Support Team and Day Hospice and aim to address a wide range of issues and offer an informal layer of support. The course covers some of the practical, social and emotional aspects of caring, as well as providing the opportunity to ask questions of the people involved in delivering the sessions.

Sunflower Group Programme

The Sunflower Group is a six week professionally developed programme designed to facilitate wellbeing, help you access the support you need and provide an opportunity to meet with others in a similar situation. We meet for two and a half hours once a week at Eden Valley Hospice, usually on Monday afternoons from 2 - 4.30pm.

These are some of the support sessions and speakers that are on the programme:

  • Knowing who’s who can be difficult, so we invite some of the carers' organisations which may be of help now or in the future; sometimes it helps to have a face to a name
  • Money and benefits are a challenge to understand for everyone, this session is designed to do some myth-busting and provide a useful contact for the future
  • The palliative care social work team talk about how their role might help make things manageable. This links to making plans in advance and there’s more information on the Deciding Right page of this website if you want to know more
  • We provide a session about what good emotional support looks like, and how to begin to put some things in place to help us all be supported
  • Therapeutic crafts and activities form an important part of the programme, and people are often surprised by how therapeutic just sitting down with something can be
  • Complementary Therapies - how therapies, including massage, reflexology, mindfullness and Reiki can offer support and relief to patients and their carers
  • Moving and handling at home is a question that comes up regularly, and this session is designed to give some guiding principles around keeping ourselves safe, and some pointers about the best ways to help with common problems
  • The Community Nursing Service is a session that has helped people to understand the different roles out there and who they need to call. Likewise we have an ‘Ask the Doctor’ session which affords the opportunity to talk to a doctor about... anything! Questions that have been asked in previous groups have included understanding blood groups, what doctors mean when they say x, y and z, and how GPs get on with consultants!
  • Nutrition can be an issue for ill people and we have our chefs providing a practical demonstration to put some of the principles into tasty dishes for us to try.
  • Spiritual care is a key part of the programme and it helps us all to think about what makes us who we are, and what helps us to hold on to it during all the stress and strain of daily life.

The group runs several times a year and the best way to find out when the next one starts is to get in touch. We can help to answer any questions, tell you a bit more about how we work and, although there’s no pressure to sign up, we’d encourage you to give it a go. We would love to hear from you!

Dorothy Haskins (Day Hospice Staff Nurse): 

There is the possibility of some respite cover in order to help carers to attend if the person they care for cannot be left alone. We will explore various options to help you with this.