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RIP Tony Booth – Supporter and Campaigner of Quality Dementia Care at End of Life

Posted on: September 26th, 2017

The Irish Hospice Foundation sends their condolences to the family and friends of actor and political campaigner Tony Booth who has died.  

Steph and Tony were strong supporters and have been campaign tirelessly for better end of life for people with dementia. 

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. 

Tony was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2004 when living in Ireland. Steph, a journalist and champion for people and carers living with dementia, launched the Irish Hospice Foundation’s Changing Minds Programme which seeks to improve the end-of-life experience for people living with dementia who are on their final journey. Slider image attributed to Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror  

Grant a final wish to people like Tess – support our Nurses for Night Care Service

Posted on: September 7th, 2017

Most of us want to die at home. Please grant a final wish by making a donation today.

There’s no place like home.

It could be the familiar smell when you open your front door, a cup of tea by the fireside or finding solace in your garden on a sunny day. The feeling of safety, comfort and reassurance when you are cosy in your bed at night.   Home is a place like no other and it’s no surprise so many of us want to spend our final days there with the people and comforts we love. With your help The Irish Hospice Foundation’s Nurses for Night Care service can grant a final wish. This free, national service allows people with illnesses other than cancer to die in the comfort of their own homes with loved ones. The nurse steps in at a difficult time to provide professional medical care, emotional and physical support and give carers a chance to rest and recharge.  

Pauline and her family discovered just how hard this time can be and experienced first-hand the wonderful difference our Nurses for Night Care service makes. Pauline’s mother-in-law, Tess was cared for in her home at the end of her life by the Nurse for Night Care, Ann.


Tess whose final wish to die at home was granted thanks to generous donors like you.

“Dementia can be quite sneaky in that it creeps up very gradually. For Tess, it started off with forgetfulness, lights left on at night, cooker left on, going down a number of times a week to collect her pension and getting so upset when she was told it was already collected. This was a very difficult time for Tess as she knew something was wrong but did not know what. It was very hard for the family as this strong, capable, loving, wonderful woman was gradually slipping away - the most painful was when she did not know her children or grandchildren…” As Tess’s disease progressed, it was clear that a care plan had to be put in place with the Nurses for Night Care service stepping in during the final five nights. “Our nurse Ann was a crucial part of ‘Team Tess’ who all strived to make her last few days as comfortable as was humanly possible. Ann was someone who willingly took over Tess’s care. Her calm, reassuring nature meant that the family could leave Tess’s side without worry. We knew she was in confident, capable hands.”

Nurses for Night Care provided expertise and comfort for Tess and her family.

“The joy of being at home meant Tess was getting one-to-one care all night long. The nurse could meet her every need without Tess being in distress. Having consistency and the same nurse for the five nights was something we were very grateful for. It was a comfort for the family to get some sleep at night knowing that if Tess worsened we could be by her side instantly. In Ireland we hear a lot of negativity towards health care. However, not everyone is aware of services such as Nurses for Night Care because seeing is believing and the care and compassion delivered to Tess and our family was immeasurable.”

But the demand for this free, national service is growing every year.

In 2016 we provided over 2,000 nights of care to 600 families at a cost of €650,000. The expected spend this year has soared to €800,000! This is why we desperately need your support to continue this vital work.


Just €40 provides one hour of night care.



To find out more about Nurses for Night Care Service and how to access it, please click HERE

Palliative Care Week – What Have You Heard? #pallcareweek

Posted on: September 1st, 2017

Research Reveals Four out of Five People Think Palliative Care Can Only be Provided by Specialist Palliative Care Teams

Almost One Third of People Think Palliative Care is only Available in a Hospice or Hospital Research published to coincide with Palliative Care Week 2017 (3rd to 9th September) reveals four out of five people think palliative care can only be provided by specialist palliative care teams. It also found that almost one third of people think palliative care is only available in a hospice or hospital. Palliative Care Week is facilitated by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Karen Charnley, AIIHPC Head of Institute, said: “Hospices and hospitals are key for the provision of palliative care, especially for people with complex needs, but many people will receive palliative care within their own community. Palliative Care is provided by a range of professionals supporting the person, whether they are at home, in a nursing home, hospital or hospice.”
Dr Bridget Johnston of Trinity College Dublin carried out the research as part of a project supported by AIIHPC. Interviews were carried out with 75 patients accessing specialist palliative care services and 69 caregivers. “This research found that misperceptions about palliative care are common among people receiving this care and caregivers. Four out of five people assumed that palliative care can only be offered by specialist teams and this was consistent for both patients receiving care and for caregivers. It was also interesting to find that almost one third of people believe palliative care is only available in a hospice or hospital. This shows there’s still important work to be done to increase people’s understanding of palliative care, so that they are able to make informed choices about care,” said Dr Johnston. The research also found that eight out of ten people agreed palliative care was about quality of life and that it offers support to family and friends.

Lending Support

The Irish Hospice Foundation has leant its strong support for #pallcareweek and reiterated its call for the government to show that bereavement, palliative care and end-of-life issues are priority areas in their policy development and investment. IHF CEO Sharon Foley continued: “Palliative care supports and guides people who have an incurable condition or illness. It could be your next-door neighbour or best friend who will need this care when facing death and it’s all of our business to realise the grave importance of palliative care. Death is taboo in Ireland, conversations around death and loss are never easy. But they need to be encouraged. It’s the one inevitable facing us all. “So we’re strongly supporting Palliative Care Week again this year which shines a spotlight on the incredible difference palliative care can make to patient, carers and families throughout Ireland, regards of age or condition. It enables our loved ones to live well until the end; be that days, weeks or months."

Evelyn's Story

36-year-old Evelyn Wakefield from Birr in Co. Offaly was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer in 2014. When she was contacted by a palliative care nurse, she initially didn’t want to see her.
“I felt if I brought the palliative care nurse in, I was facing death and I wasn’t ready for that. We talked and I was surprised by the suggestions she gave me to give me a better quality of life. I very quickly realised what palliative care was and that the nurse was there to give me the best quality of life I could possibly have and I’ve succeeded. My perception has obviously changed because I’m on the receiving end of palliative care and I now understand what it is but there are people out there that are still afraid when it’s mentioned. What I’d say to them is take all the support you can get. It helps greatly and I now have a better quality of life with my family.”
Karen Charnley continued: “Our aim for Palliative Care Week is to encourage people to think about their understanding of palliative care and to encourage them not to be afraid to ask their GP or any other healthcare professional if palliative care could help them or someone they love. People tend to associate palliative care being for people with advanced cancer but it’s equally important if you’re living with advanced heart or lung disease, kidney failure and other conditions such as motor neurone disease or dementia.”

Government Support

Jim Daly T.D., Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, is supporting Palliative Care Week. Minister Daly said: “I was delighted to hear about Palliative Care Week and the work of AIIHPC during a visit to Marymount University Hospital & Hospice, Cork. It is important for people to be aware of the support that is available to make the most of life when they have a live-limiting illness. Through our National Clinical Programme for Palliative Care, and by supporting Palliative Care Week, our aim is to increase awareness and understanding of palliative care, and support those who need this care.” Sheilagh Reaper Reynolds, HSE Lead for Palliative Care, said: “Palliative care services aim to meet the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and carers facing progressive illness that may limit or shorten their lives. People can sometimes have a fear of palliative care and the Palliative Care Week helps us to explain how palliative services can improve a person’s quality of life throughout the course of their illness.”

Palliative Care Week 2017, September 3-9 will raise vital awareness of the difference palliative care can make to patients, carers and families throughout the island of Ireland.


Palliative care

  • Ensures that a person with a serious and progressive condition, regardless of age or condition, can have the best possible quality of life
  • Involves the person and those close to them
  • Supports planning for the future
  • May be appropriate for a number of years, not just the weeks and days at the end of life
  • Puts the person at the centre of care whether it is provided at home, in a nursing home, hospital or hospice.
Discover how you can support or attend a #pallcareweek event  here. An explanation of some of the key terms and phrases you will hear regarding palliative care throughout the week are here. Palliative Care Week is coordinated by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), with input and support from partner and stakeholder organisations across the island including the Irish Hospice Foundation.

Race Day 2017

Posted on: August 21st, 2017

Join us for some craic at the track on Sunday, October 22nd and help raise money for our vital work.

The day will kick off with a drinks reception at 12 noon, followed by a delicious three course luncheon.

RTE Broadcaster Tracy Piggott will be our MC for the afternoon and guests will enjoy a private tote and tipsters in the Pavilion.

There will also be a raffle, silent auction and a vault on the day with fabulous prizes including this stunning Paul Sheeran diamond necklace.


Buy a table of 10 or 12, tickets available ONLINE NOW

Alternatively, please contact Louise McCarron on 01 679 3188 or [email protected] to book your place.

Dying is Everyone’s Business. Can we afford to forget Grief? IHF Pre Budget Submission

Posted on: July 6th, 2017

Irish Hospice Foundation Pre Budget Submission calls for a national strategy for palliative, end of life bereavement care

  • 300,000 newly bereaved every year
  • IHF pre-budget submission calls for change
Irish Hospice Foundation Pre-Budget Submission 2018 L-R Orla Keegan, Head of Education, Research & Bereavement, Marie Lynch, Head of Healthcare Programmes and Angela Edghill, Advocacy & Public Engagement Manager

Pictured at the Irish Hospice Foundation Pre-Budget Submission 2018 L-R Orla Keegan, Head of Education, Research & Bereavement, Marie Lynch, Head of Healthcare Programmes and Angela Edghill, Advocacy & Public Engagement Manager.
Photo By Paul Sherwood

Today (Thursday July 6th)  the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) calls for the government to show that bereavement, palliative care, end-of life issues are priority areas for policy development and investment. At their Pre-Budget Briefing in Dublin today the IHF strongly advocates for the development of a national strategy on palliative care, end of life and bereavement to include both health and non-health areas of public policy. This underpins all 23 IHF recommendations for budget 2018. Death is an inevitable and universal experience – a fact of life. While most people will experience ‘death denial’, it is not appropriate that the State adopt the same attitude. Dying, death and bereavement present myriad challenges to the health service and to other state services. That means that a whole society approach is essential. We believe dying, death and bereavement are everyone’s business with the assumption that healthcare and other services will recognise and address our needs. The recent Sláintecare report is an important development outlining a ten year plan for radical reform of Ireland’s health system. Despite its comprehensive look at the health services, sadly bereavement was forgotten in the report. Is no-one grieving in Ireland? The facts differ. In the next 10 years[1]: Almost 300,000 people will die in Ireland Over 3,000 of those deaths will be of children Over 240,000 will be of people over 65 years of age Almost 3 million people will be bereaved[2] and up to 150,000 of these will encounter significant difficulties or ‘complicated grief’[3] Grief is the common ground on which we all stand. We urge the Government and all Oireachtas members to ensure bereavement issues are priority areas for policy development and investment. If current trends continue 5% of grieving people will require specialist mental health services/psychological intervention[4]. Given this evidence, it is essential that the healthcare system meets the needs of people facing dying, death and bereavement and ensures that everyone gets equal access to good care. By careful planning, we can make the best use of the substantial funds that we directly and indirectly invest in the care of the dying and the bereaved, and, crucially, that this planning includes helping people to live well until they die. Orla Keegan Head of Education, Research & Bereavement, IHF said: “The implications of bereavement stretch across our society – all ages, all circumstances, all cultures. The cost of building caring communities is a small investment for long-term gains. Amongst the calls being made by the Irish Hospice Foundation is one for research to uncover the financial impact of loss which will help to reframe the bereavement grant for future generations. Support for joint-working by the voluntary sector in children’s and adult bereavement care is also identified as a primary need.”

Everyone deserves the right to a good death

“Everyone in Ireland deserves to have a good death. For this to happen, improvements are needed in Primary Care, Residential Care and in Hospital settings. These improvements need to specifically focus resources and expertise available outside traditional working hours as well as the development of Specialist Palliative Care in the Midlands and North East. From a public health perspective, the IHF recommend that the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 is fully commenced this year. In the meantime there is an urgency to invest resources to ensure that Irish citizens and healthcare staff are aware of and fully understand the implications of this Act, particularly the impact on advance healthcare planning and facilitating people to make choices about their own healthcare” stresses Marie Lynch, Head of Healthcare Programmes, the Irish Hospice Foundation.  

Call for delivery of the best palliative, end of life and bereavement care in all care settings

The IHF asks the Government to: Ensure everyone has access to the best care at end of life and in bereavement through a political and public policy commitment to a strategic, responsive, population-wide approach to end of life issues and ensure the health care system delivers best palliative, end of life and bereavement care in all care settings. The IHF believes that with a more strategic approach, better end-of-life care can make a real difference to both the quality of healthcare provided to the citizen and the cost of health and social care to the State – a view supported by an Oireachtas Committee in 2014. [5]
  • According to Angela Edghill, Advoacy and Public Engagement Manager said “such a strategy supports: Government policy set out in the 2016 Programme for a Partnership Government[6] which seeks to ensure that we have an Ireland that looks after its people from the time they come into the world to the time they leave and promises investment in end-of-life care at all life stages. This proposed integrated approach echoes that set out in the National Positive Ageing Strategy[7] and most recently by the Finite Lives Reports[8] [9].
  • Delivery of the targets set out in the Sláintecare Report[10] of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare 2017 which builds on the 2001 National Strategy on Palliative Care (NACPC, 2001[11]) and the new framework for palliative care services, publication of which is expected.
In some cases the challenge is to simply join the dots – to enable, encourage, mainstream and replicate good practice and innovation across the whole of government and community areas.” Recommendations in the IHF pre-budget submission relate in particular the Departments of Health, Social Protection, Education and Skills, Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Children and Youth Affairs, Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and An Taoiseach, but are relevant across the whole range of Government Departments and Agencies. READ FULL PRESS RELEASE AND REFERENCES HERE>>>  

A full copy of the IHF Pre-budget submission is available HERE

For further information please contact: Angela Edghill, Advocacy and Public Engagement Manager      

Our Summer Raffle 2017 winners announced!

Posted on: July 3rd, 2017

We are delighted to announce winners of our Summer Raffle 2017 draw that took place last Friday, 30th June in our offices:

  • 1st Prize – Fly Cruise Holiday for 2 with MSC Cruises sponsored by Click & Go:

    Karen Allen, Dublin 14
  • 2nd Prize – 5* European City Break for 2 sponsored by Click & Go:

    Angie Pardue, Dublin 22
  • 3rd Prize – Weekend Break at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin  sponsored by The Intercontinental:

    Becky Cahill, Co Cavan
  • Sellers Prize - €500 M&S Voucher sponsored by Marks & Spencer:

    John Fitzgibbon, Lusk Co Dublin

Congratulations to all lucky winners an huge thanks for all our wonderful supporters who got involved in selling Raffle tickets on our behalf and all the generous public who bought them. Your support will help us fund our Nurses for Night Care Service for which demand is growing every year. Thank you!


Garda David Irwin pulling the winning ticket in IHF Summer Raffle Draw on Friday 30th June 2017.

Irish end-of-life “handover bag” inspires Australian care

Posted on: June 26th, 2017

Pioneering Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme now ten years old

The ground-breaking hospital “handover bag” initiative is being copied in Australia to improve care provided to patients at end of life and their bereaved families and friends.   The handover bag concept was first introduced in Irish hospitals as part of the Irish Hospice Foundation’s pioneering Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme (HFH) which is marking its tenth anniversary this year.  

A high quality bag should be used

Marie Lynch, Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) Head of Healthcare Programmes said:  “The principle of the family handover bag is to promote a dignified and sensitive way of returning the deceased patient’s personal belongings to the family. A high quality bag should be used in place of a plastic bag. 
  “It’s one of the initiatives introduced by HFH in Irish hospitals over the past decade in partnership with the HSE to bring hospice principles into hospital settings. “Since its inception in 2007 the Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme has grown tremendously and this is down to individuals across Ireland who have worked tirelessly to raise awareness and improve the quality of end-of-life care.   “The HFH programme has continued to innovate throughout this time and lead end-of-life care not only in Ireland but internationally.”   The specially designed handover bags carry the end-of-life symbol which was introduced to hospital settings as part of the HFH programme.  

Inspiring Australian Care

Healthcare professionals in Queensland, Australia have now followed Ireland’s lead and developed their own end-of-life symbol and handover bag. Wendy Pearse from Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service’s (SCHHS) End –of-Life Care Committee said she learned about HFH on social media. Ms Pearse said hospitals can do better “than plastic bags” when returning patient possessions to bereaved relatives and friends.
After being inspired by the Irish programme we developed an Australian take on handover bags and a few other resources. The aim of the handover bags is to convey to the family and staff that whilst the person was a patient with us, we cared for them and respected them. “We will treat their belongings with the same care and dignity that we showed to the person who died.”

Social worker Nola Powell and project officer Wendy Pearse with the handover bags, card and booklet.

Tenth anniversary of the HFH programme

HfH was introduced to bring hospice principles into hospital settings. An average 30,000 deaths occur in Ireland every year. Approximately 48 per cent of those people will die in an acute hospital. The tenth anniversary of the HFH programme was marked today at an HFH Acute Hospital Network meeting in Cork, (Tuesday, May 23). Leaders in end-of-life care from more than 40 hospitals linked to the HFH are members of this network which meets on a regular basis throughout the year.  
Dr Eileen Mannion, consultant in palliative care at Galway University Hospital, Roscommon University Hospital and Galway Hospice Foundation said:  “Since its inception in 2007 the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme has shone a spotlight on end of life care in the acute hospital setting. Through its ongoing commitment to education and research in this area it strives to ensure the highest quality of care for patients and their families at the end of life.”
  Marie Lynch said:  “The Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme continues to grow across Ireland – there are now 47 hospitals involved, 20 hospitals have access to end-of-life care coordinators and all are implementing the National Standards for End-of-Life care which were developed by the IHF and the HSE in 2010.”   The Health Service Executive and Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) announced a Joint Oversight Group of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme earlier this year. It was formed to further embed the Hospice Friendly Hospital Programme within HSE structures. It is also examining ways to expand and develop the programme across the hospital system where possible.     Dr Ciarán Browne, HSE Acute Hospital Division said: “We are very pleased to continue and extend our close working relationship with the Irish Hospice Foundation on the Hospice Friendly Hospital Programme.   “We recognise the importance of this work to patients, their families and staff. The HFH Programme supports our goal of creating a caring and compassionate environment across our hospital system.”       Photo: Mary Casey, Clinical Nurse Manager, St. James’s Hospital with Irish end-of-life bag             Caption: Mary Casey, Clinical Nurse Manager St. James’s Hospital with Irish end-of-life bag  

Booking Now Open! Forum 2017

Posted on: June 19th, 2017

Forum on end-of-life in Ireland conference 2017

  • Theme: “Have Your Say: Your Life, Your Death, Your Say”
  • When : Tuesday 10th October 2017
  • Where: Dublin Castle Conference Centre 
  • Programme details available HERE (subject to change)
  Book Now Forum on end-of-life conference 2017  

A chance to 'Have your Say'

Forum 2017 is the 5th National Conference of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland, an initiative of the Irish Hospice Foundation. The theme of the one day conference is “Have Your Say: Your Life, Your Death, Your Say”. Prominent national and international speakers will speak on a range of issues on dying, death and bereavement, including the results of the extensive nationwide “Have Your Say” survey which was carried out at the end of 2016 with a view to creating a Charter for End of Life and Bereavement in Ireland. You will hear personal experiences and expert views.  You will have the opportunity to have your say and hear what others have to say too. Forum 2017 is open to interested members of the public as well as healthcare and allied healthcare professionals. Booking is now open online or you can download a booking form HERE     Advocacy - Have your Say Forum

Support your local hospice through Sunflower Days 2017 – 9th & 10th June!

Posted on: June 9th, 2017
On these days, people will be able to support their local hospice service by purchasing various pieces of Sunflower merchandise including sunflower pins or sunflower seeds for €2 each from collectors on the streets of cities, towns and villages across Ireland.

Hospice Sunflower Days is a major source of income for hospices and voluntary hospice groups countrywide. The IHF coordinates the event on behalf of the hospice movement but all of the funds raised locally, stay locally.

For more information on Sunflower Days or to volunteer with your local hospice, please click HERE

The 2nd Dublin Choral Festival

Posted on: June 6th, 2017

Extraordinary concert at Christ Church Cathedral in aid of The Irish Hospice Foundation

You are invited to attend a very special concert that will take place on Saturday 8th July at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.  The concert will take place at 8pm and involved over 200 performers!! The Dublin Choral Festival returns for a second year and this year the concert will be given in aid of The Irish Hospice Foundation.   A chorus of 180 American singers, a traditional Celtic band of internationally renowned musicians,  and Dublin’s very own Kaleidoscope Ensemble will perform a rich and varied programme of Celtic, American and European music.  The impressive line-up is completed with mezzo- soprano Aine Mulvey  and Ciarán Kelly, a member of the ‘Five Irish Tenors’ who recently returned from a very successful tour to the United States.  

The theme for the concert is ‘The Celtic Journey, celebrating the Celtic Spirit in its Land, Faith, Music, Life and Hope’.


Land - features excerpts from composer John Cameron’s Missa Celtica, which begins with the haunting sounds of the Uilleann Pipes and involves harp, tin whistle, Bodhran and fiddle together with mezzo- soprano and lyric tenor.   John is probably best known for composing the orchestral score of Les Miserables and more recently ‘Zorro, the Musical together with the Gypsy Kings.

Faith - Music of the Great Cathedrals

Magnificat in Bb and Beati Quorum Via - Stanford   

I Was Glad - Parry

Music - The New Voice   - featuring two works by Norwegian composer Gjeilo

 The Ground from Sunrise Mass

 The Lake Isle with piano, guitar and strings and using text from Yeats


Life - The New World

 Unclouded Day - Shawn Kirchner

Homeward Bound - trad. Arr. by Mack Wilberg,

Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning - Shawn Kirchner

 Hope - Joy Everlasting  

Hear My Prayer - Hogan

In that Great Getting’ Up Morning- Traditional



To BOOK Tickets  Visit www.ChristChurchTickets.com for event details and to purchase your tickets. Book early to avoid disappointment!
For further information:  Micheline Egan – (087) 2508 340 Email – [email protected]  
Face book: 2ndDublinChoralFestival2017     Instagram: @DublinChoralFestival2017     Twitter: @ChorDub