Family Support Officer

Application ends: September 27, 2022

Apply for this job

Email *
Password *
Confirm Password *

Job Description


Family Support Officer (FSO) 

Job Description 

POSITION  Family Support Officer
LOCATION  Ola During Children’s Hospital, Freetown, Sierra Leone
START DATE  ASAP as soon as possible 
HOURS  45 hours a week 
REPORTING TO  Dr N. Bell and Dr Lannes Kamara
SALARY  Will be discussed upon successful selection 
APPLICATION PROCESS To apply, submit an updated CV (no longer than 2 pages), cover letter and 2  references to before September 27th, 2022 Interviews will be held between 29th September and 7th October in person at  ODCH in Freetown. 


Main Purpose 

The Family Support Officer will be responsible for supporting children with cancer and their  families at Sierra Leone’s first paediatric oncology unit at Ola During Children’s Hospital. In  collaboration with health care professionals he/she will be in charge of ensuring that children  and young people with cancer and their families receive the emotional, social, and practical  support they need. Services will include a psychosocial needs assessment of the patient and  their family’s situation, provision of emotional support, information on financial support and  financial guidance for families, practical support and making referrals for other services  where appropriate. The role will also involve working with the wider oncology team in a  collaborative way, so as to meet the holistic needs of patients and their families. He/She will 

assess and review needs at diagnosis and at key points during the cancer journey, working  in collaboration with the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT)/ Oncology Medical Team at the  Hospital. This role is expected to identify and contribute to best practice, promote the  psychosocial needs of patient and their families, aid the development of services and  provide advocacy for patients and their families. 

Key Relationships: 


Sister in charge of ward and other senior sisters 

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit – ODCH 

Teacher for unit (TBD) 

Management of ODCH 

Welbodi Partnership – Programme Manager and Nurse trainer 

Psychosocial Support Advisor, World Child Cancer 


Key Responsibilities :

Needs assessments and support plans  

To ensure the provision of high-quality assessment and care support planning in  partnership with families. 

To assess and review needs, initially at diagnosis and at key points during the cancer  journey (relapse, end of life).  

To individually assess families’ needs at diagnosis, developing support plans for the  patient and families that are considered to be at high risk of abandonment in  collaboration with the medical staff.  

To ensure that the support plan is delivered directly or in partnership with others.

 To intervene and refer to relevant authorities, where any safeguarding needs are  assessed. These may include concerns that have an impact on the family functioning  and where there is an impact on the care provision of the child.  



Provision of emotional support to patients and their parents  

To provide emotional support to patients and cares in individual and group sessions  to help them cope better with the impact of the cancer diagnosis at each stage of the  illness.  

Organize support groups and/or support for family members to assist them in  understanding, dealing with, and supporting the patient with the impact of cancer.  Support the parents to grow their own peer support group in prioritizing, planning and  implementing projects to support families (accommodation, transport costs, cash  support)  

Signposting families, who require a greater level of emotional support, to other  relevant departments or organizations  


Family education and information provision  :

To support the overall function of the medical team in delivering treatment and care  by facilitating the communication between the families and the medical staff.  To organize families’ education activities in collaboration with the medical staff.  To ensure families have access to the information they need in order to understand  their child’s illness.  

To be accessible to families for them to ask questions and to know where to signpost  families for accurate and helpful information.  

Fundraising and financial support  

To compile anonymized case studies to be used in fundraising activities and to  collect consent from caregivers 



Data Management and Recording  :

To maintain records in accordance with the hospital requirements  

To manage data and patient information in line with Data Protection guidelines

 To record patient information and interventions in a non-judgmental way

 To keep clear, accurate and timely written / typed records of support offered to  patients and their families 


Collaboration with the rest of the hospital 

To aid with SOPs and any assistance needed in the rest of the hospital

Be present in multi-disciplinary team meetings and share your assessment,  observations and recommendations 

Observe and assess the child’s anxieties and communicate any psycho-social issues  or concerns of both the patient and the care giver, to the consultants



Person Specification 


A degree in one of the following: 

o Bachelor of Psychology 

o Bachelor of Social Work 

o Bachelor of Public Health 

o Diploma in Psychosocial Support  



Experience :

Experience and knowledge of working with children/young people in a social care  setting 

Experience and knowledge of working in a multi-disciplinary environment

 Understanding of the impact of serious illness 



Skills and Attributes :

Ability to present information clearly to a range of people  

Proven ability to communicate sensitively and effectively at all levels both verbally  and in writing  

Proven ability to manage complex or conflicting priorities in a pressured environment  Time management and organizational skills  

Person centred approach  

Ability to deal with stressful situations and offer appropriate support to others  Understanding of data protection and the ability to maintain confidentiality  Child-centred service user focus  

Desire to develop skills in this field  

Supportive, Team Player, Resourceful and Objective 

The ability to build a rapport and develop relationships with children and their families Empathy, patience and sensitivity  

Verbal and written communication skills, including skills in listening, observing, taking  notes and record keeping 

Teamworking skills and the ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team The ability to work independently and to priorities your workload 

Organisation skills to plan and deliver activities for children 

Creativity, energy and enthusiasm 

Cultural awareness and respect for the religious and cultural diversity of children and  their families 

A flexible approach to work in order to adapt to children’s different needs An understanding of confidentiality and safeguarding issues 

Health, safety and risk awareness.