Two children, a boy and a girl, playing in an indoor tent smiling at each other.

Sibling support

We make sure that brothers & sisters don’t get left out, and are helped to cope

Having a brother or sister with a life-shortening condition can be incredibly difficult to understand and deal with. Siblings often need a different kind of support to help them to make sense of what’s happening and how they feel about it.

We help brothers and sisters to safely explore, share and understand their feelings. We do this by providing plenty of care and support, in lots of different ways, for as long as it's needed. We have two main goals for brothers and sisters:
  • To ensure they get no less attention than their sibling, so they know they’re just as important
  • To bring as much normality back into their lives as possible. 

What might siblings be going through?

Although no one is to blame in any way, brothers and sisters can experience chaos in their lives when another child in the family has a life-shortening condition. Siblings might…
  • spend long periods of time in hospital, even though they themselves are fit and well
  • go to hospital suddenly, with no chance to prepare and possibly missing out on planned activities
  • spend long periods away from one or both parents 
  • feel they must soldier on, trying to protect their parents from extra stress
  • experience worries and feelings which affect school and interactions with other children
  • think that their sibling’s condition is somehow their fault
  • find themselves bereaved.

What can we do to help?

We can arrange:
  • a Play Passport for every sibling, so they can tell us what they enjoy and then we can tailor time and activities around those things.
  • fun stuff like sleepovers, activity sessions, parties and day-trips – especially allowing them to meet other children going through similar things. We even have a special sibling garden and play area at Russell House
  • supportive and therapeutic stuff, like groups, counselling, making worry boxes and activity jars, music therapy and complementary therapies, and bereavement support.
  • care and attention for the siblings while you care for your other child or take a much-needed break. This can be in your own home or at Russell House.