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Posted on: March 27th, 2014

 Kevin Barry photo



The Board of Management and the staff at the Irish Hospice Foundation would like to extend their condolences to the family and friends of Kevin Barry.

 Kevin was a long standing supporter and friend of the organisation.

Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation said, “We are deeply saddened by the death of Kevin. He was part of a number of our publications and his advice and support was invaluable. His family and friends are in our thoughts at this sad and difficult time.”

May he rest in peace.


Posted on: March 26th, 2014



Steph Booth, the journalist and champion for people and carers living with dementia, today (26th March) launched the Irish Hospice Foundation’s (IHF) three-year Changing Mindsprogramme which  seeks to  improve the end-of-life experience for people living with dementia who are on their final journey.


Ms Booth’s husband, the actor Tony Booth and father of Cherie Blair, has Alzheimer’s disease which is a type of dementia.  She has written extensively about the challenges they both face in living with the condition.  While now living in the north of England, the couple lived in Co Cavan for a number of years.


Ms Booth launched the programme when she spoke at a seminar entitled “Palliative Care Needs of People with Dementia – Building Capacity” at the University of Limerick.  The day-long seminar was one of the first events to be organized under the Changing Minds programme which will run from 2013-2016.  The programme has been allocated an investment of €3m and is co-funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation and the IHF.


Dementia affects about 41,000 people today.  In the next 30 years, the number of people living with this condition is expected to reach nearly 141,000.  About 34% of Irish people with dementia currently live in residential care and almost one in five acute medical beds are occupied by people with dementia.  Just under two thirds of the residents of residential care settings have been diagnosed with the condition.


Ms Booth stated: “Through my writing I have been trying to raise the profile of the issues around dementia. I have also tried to say to other carers ‘you’re not on your own’. Difficult questions and increasing problems have to be faced by us all. Unlike other illnesses where the sufferer may still be able, even towards the end, to plan and make choices for their care, that would clearly not be the case for those with dementia.  When is the right moment to have the discussion?  It is good to know that the Irish Hospice Foundation through this Changing Minds programme is there to help us to face up to and achieve this. The questions to be confronted are both practical and moral.  The programme is exciting and innovative.  Dying well with love, dignity and respect is a fundamental rite of life.” 


Sharon Foley, Chief Executive Officer of the IHF, commented: “The Irish Hospice Foundation is committed to looking at the end-of-life needs of particularly vulnerable members of our society.  We aim to promote and support better end-of-life care across all care settings and for all illnesses.    As a poorly understood and highly stigmatised condition affecting an increasing number of people, we looked to contribute to the development of services for people living with dementia.  We want to see palliative care for people with dementia prioritised and developed in all care settings and more people supported to be able  to die well at home. We are also looking to increase our focus in community residential care settings.   About 66% of these residents have a cognitive impairment so our programmes for care settings will have an increased dementia focus.”


She continued: “At the end of the programme, we hope that the end-of-life care for people in all healthcare settings is developed and specifically the needs of people with dementia will be better understood and supported. Finally we want to see increased public discussion on death and dying with more people, including those with dementia, engaging in early advance planning”


Marie Lynch, Programme Development Manager, commented: “People dying from and with a dementia are an especially vulnerable group. Their end-of-life care needs may be further complicated by the absence of staff specifically trained in end-of-life care and dementia care. Changing Minds is about both principles and practice – promoting quality end-of-life principles and embedding good practices into the care of people living with dementia. It aims to positively transform public awareness and professional attitudes.”


Under the Changing Minds programme, the IHF will:

  • Engage with healthcare leaders in statutory and voluntary services to generate support for developing excellent end-of-life care for people living with dementia
  • Educate and develop the end of life care and communications skills of staff who are  caring  patients with dementia in all care settings
  • Promote good models of care including support guidance and information 
  • Introduce systems to support the palliative care needs of patients with a life limiting disease at home including those with dementia
  • Introduce useful tools and resources used in acute hospitals into other healthcare settings where staff and patients with dementia will benefit
  • Encourage a national conversation about the end-of-life and encourage all to engage in early advance planning.
  • Adapt the Hospice Friendly Programme for Residential Care Services for Older People


As part of the Changing Minds programme, a series of seminars are being organized around Ireland in an effort to raise awareness among health and social care professionals of the needs of patients and families living with dementia and some initiatives that are being rolled out to meet those needs.  Other seminars are planned for the North East and South East later this year.

Irish Hospice Foundation extends condolences to family of Nicky McFadden, TD

Posted on: March 26th, 2014

The Irish Hospice Foundation extends condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Nicky McFadden, TD.  

Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath died yesterday after a battle with Motor Neurone disease.  

The Irish Hospice Foundation benefited from her support for the hospice cause and in particular for sunflower day, which raises funds for local hospice. 

May she Rest in Peace 


Posted on: March 13th, 2014



 The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has today (March 13th) launched an innovative resource pack aimed at helping managers and workers to support their colleagues affected by bereavement in the Irish workplace each year.

 In Ireland, it’s estimated that one in 10 of the Irish workforce each year can be directly affected by bereavement, amounting to over 190,000 workers.

 An initiative of the IHF, the resource pack has been a collaborative project between employers, unions and representative bodies. It is made up of six Information Sheets which are simple, easy to use guides on topics such as “How to Deliver Bad News” and “What to Say” and these can be downloaded free of charge from www.griefatwork.ie

 The project has been developed by the IHF with the help of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), The Health and Safety Authority (HSA), Irish Business & Employers Confederation (Ibec), Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), The Wheel, Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA), Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), Small Firms Association (SFA) and the Irish Management Institute (IMI).

 Welcoming the announcement, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Richard Bruton said: “Supporting workers during times of difficulty such as the death of someone close, is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. Healthy, safe and contented workers are key to the long-term sustainability of enterprise and employment in Ireland. Well-run enterprises increasingly see the welfare of their workers as key to their long-term competitiveness and a key mission of my Department is encouraging employers to take a more active role in these issues. Today’s launch of an innovative resource pack to help employers and workers support colleagues who are affected by bereavement is very welcome. This has been developed in cooperation with employers’ groups, workers’ representatives, my Department as well as representatives of the NGO sector and represents a very welcome addition to workplace supports”.

 Speaking at the launch, ICTU General Secretary David Begg stated: “It would be impossible to underestimate how valuable supportive colleagues and workmates can be at a time of loss and bereavement. Their understanding can prove critical in helping people cope with their loss and with the demands of the workplace, which can seem daunting in the aftermath of a bereavement. I think managers and employers may sometimes take that support for granted and would urge that they are more proactive in helping foster and maintain a more understanding culture in the workplace.”

 ISME CEO Mark Fielding added: “The availability of the information pack will help employers deal with a very sensitive issue in an appropriate manner and hopefully show the bereaved employee that they are valued and understood.”

 A survey commissioned by the IHF in 2006, found that most organisations in Ireland did not have clear guidelines on managing bereavement in the workplace despite believing there could be health and safety implications for bereaved employees.

 Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF commented: “In the workplace it can be difficult to know how to respond to someone who has been bereaved. In Ireland, it’s usually seen as a taboo subject which is best avoided or dealt with in private. This information pack goes a long way to easing those fears by giving clear, concise guidelines on how workers and managers can respond in informed and compassionate ways to help employees who are bereaved.”

 Bereavement Training and Development Officer with the IHF, Breffni McGuinness added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the organisations who have helped with the development of this resource pack. Their input has been invaluable in developing much needed practical resources for the workplace and I have no doubt they will help many bereaved employees across the country. As one worker commented about the good support she received in her workplace when her father died ‘Do this well and you’ll never be forgotten.  Do this badly and you’ll always be remembered’.”

 The resource pack sheets can be downloaded from www.griefatwork.ie  For further information please contact Breffni McGuinness on 01 679 3188 or email breffni.mcguinness@hospicefoundation.ie





Posted on: March 13th, 2014



                           HSE Room Nenagh  


 Acclaimed designer Louise Kennedy returned to her native Tipperary today (12th March) to open the first family room in Nenagh Hospital which is for relatives of patients who are seriously ill or near the end of life and those families who are bereaved.

The room was funded under the Design & Dignity Grants Fund which is operated and co- funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and the Health Service Executive (HSE).The new facility cost approximately €35,000 from the Design & Dignity Fund

The Design & Dignity Fund was instigated in October 2010.A total of 11 projects in acute hospitals countrywide are being supported by the Fund and so far five facilities have been completed. 


Located near the main entrance to the hospital, the new family room was created from combining two small rooms’ measuring12sq meters in total.  The clever use of space has allowed the hospital to have a tea and coffee making facility, a couch, armchairs and a “pull out” bed should relatives wish to stay overnight near their dying loved one.


Speaking at the opening, Louise Kennedy commented: “”  Our Late father Jimmy Kennedy spent time in Nenagh Hospital, he received amazing care from the very dedicated nursing team who also gave my family the support we needed at a very vulnerable and anxious time. It is such a welcome facility that Nenagh Hospital now has a family room for loved ones to grieve privately and to be in a calm and peaceful environment.”


Ann Doherty, CEO of UL Hospitals, commented: “Families need a private dignified space during this most critical time.  Today we are pleased to open a new facility that will offer some comfort to families when they need us most. They can stay day and night while their loved one is coming to the end of their lives.  Nenagh Hospital is committed to improving end-of-life care.  We aim to ensure that patients and families who are with us during their final journey will have a peaceful and dignified experience.”

NenaghHospital’s Specialist Palliative Care Nurse Carmel Sheehy was instrumental in the development of this room, said: “This family room was both a practical and a profound project.  It involved a lot of skilled people working collaboratively on every aspect of this facility: design, interior colours, lighting, artwork, acoustics, fabrics and furnishings.  We are proud of what has been created and hope this small but dignified space will demonstrate our compassionate care for families. ”


 Joe Hoare, Estates Manager, commented: “This project is a product of the ongoing collaboration with the Irish Hospice Foundation on the built environment. The objective was to compliment the culture of care being fostered in the hospital by providing a dedicated space for the benefit of families and also to set an example for others to follow.”.


Mary Lovegrove, Manager of the HFH programme, remarked: ‘The Design & Dignity Fund aims to bring design excellence to hospitals in which so many people spend the last days of their lives.  The evidence shows that good design can have a very positive impact on how we experience death and dying.  We congratulate the hospital management, members of the Nenagh’s End-of-Life Care Committee, the staff at Nenagh Hospital, HSE Estates, Julian O’Mahony of Collins Building & Civil Engineering Ltd and architect Magdalena Kubat for all the hard work it took to complete this project. We hope that this family room will inspire similar projects in other hospitals in the region.

The 50 guests at the opening included the CEO and other senior management of HSE Mid West; members of the Service Users Group of the hospital; the builders and architects involved in the project; heads of department from Nenagh hospital and other sites in the mid west region; the Friends of Nenagh Hospital and members of North Tipperary Hospice. 


The Gathering Book at special St. Patrick’s Day price of €10.00 – Don’t Miss Out!

Posted on: March 13th, 2014

The Gathering Ireland 2013 is a spectacular yearlong celebration of all things Irish and the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has developed a book which is a unique memento of this national celebration of Ireland, its people and our diaspora.

 This book is a beautiful collection of over 60 stories, reflections and photographs capturing an extraordinary time for Ireland. It is a high quality, full colour, hard-backed book of 256 pages, edited by accomplished journalist Miriam Donohoe and designed by celebrated designer, Steve Averill of AMP Visual, internationally acclaimed for his award winning work with U2.

 It contains many thoughtful reflections on being Irish and on Ireland itself. Contributors include the Bono, Brian O’Driscoll, Colum McCann, Fergal Keane, Katie Taylor, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Moya Doherty, Niall O’Dowd, Pat Shortt,  the late Seamus Heaney,  Simone Rocha,  and many others.

Some of the Gathering events which will be featured include ‘The Famine Attic Experience’ where Neisha Wratten travelled from Adelaide to Leitrim to relive the last night her great-great-grandmother spent at the Carrick-on-Shannon workhouse before being sent to Australia; a special event to mark the return of the ‘Hide and Seek Children’, Slovak Jewish children who spent a year recovering in Ireland in 1948 after the Holocaust; and the ‘Gathering of the Stones’ where masons from Ireland and abroad constructed a special dry wall structure in Offaly incorporating granite blocks from the old immigrant docks in New York.

The book strives to honestly capture the variety of experiences of being Irish (or feeling Irish) – here and abroad. Some of the stories will make us laugh. Some are very personal and moving. Others take a more critical look at who we “the Irish” are and our place in the world. They are thoughtful and thought-provoking. This book will be treasured long after the year of The Gathering draws to a close. 







Irish Hospice Foundation and Neurological Alliance of Ireland look at palliative care needs of people with advancing neurological illness

Posted on: March 11th, 2014

NAI Logo

The Irish Hospice Foundation with the Neurological Alliance of Ireland has commenced a project that is looking at the palliative care needs of people with an advancing neurological illness from the perspective of Neurological Alliance of Ireland member organisations. 

Palliative care needs 

This project aims to establish the palliative care needs of people with advancing neurological disease and identify the required responses to these needs. They will draw perspectives from Neurological Alliance of Ireland member organizations which include:


  • Multiple Sclerosis Ireland
  • Parkinsons Association of Ireland
  • Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association
  • Huntingtons Disease Association of Ireland
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsey Association
  • Brain Tumour Ireland
  • Cheshire Ireland 

This week (March 10th to 15th) marks Brain Awareness Week, find out more about events and activities to mark the week HERE      

More information on the Irish Hospice Foundation’s work on extending Palliative Care to people with Advancing Neurological conditions is available HERE 


Posted on: March 11th, 2014


   Department of health logo

The Department of Health has published a draft general scheme for Advance Healthcare Directives which will be included in the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013.

This means that the government proposes to introduce legislation to enable an adult with capacity to make a legally binding Advance Healthcare Directive and refuse any form of treatment up to and including life-sustaining treatment.


What Can I Do?


1. You can learn more about Advance Healthcare Directives here >>> 



2. See the photographs from our Public Meeting on Advance Healthcare Directives that took place on Thursday, February 27 below:


3. Listen to some of the speakers at our Public Meeting







  • Chief Bioethics Officer with the Department of Health, Dr Siobhán O’Sullivan








  • The views of those who attended the meeting



Huge Thanks to 55,000 children who took part in National Pyjama Day 2014!

Posted on: March 10th, 2014

NPD2014 Banner


Huge thanks to 55,000 pre-school children who wore their favourite pyjamas into their childcare facilities last Friday to raise much needed funds for the IHF’s Hospice Home Care for Children Programme. It is a new record!

This fundraising initiative, now in its 11th year, is run by Early Childhood Ireland, the representative group for preschools and daycare centres nationwide, supporting over 110,000 young children and their families, and has raised over €2 million for children’s charities. The organisers say that, in additional to the fun and fundraising element of this campaign, National Pyjama Day is an ideal reminder to families nationwide about the importance of bedtime routines, especially reading stories, for young children which really aids language and literature skills in the crucial early years.