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Booking now open: Workshops on Loss & Bereavement 2018

Posted on: January 16th, 2018

Do you work with bereaved? In 2018, the Irish Hospice Foundation will once again host a series of Workshops on Loss and Bereavement. These are for professionals and volunteers who are working with those who have experienced a major loss. Booking is essential. For the full list of workshops and booking details, click here

Join Paul & Evelyn Kimmage on our CSI: Cyle for Care this June

Posted on: January 10th, 2018
Sports journalist and former professional cyclist Paul Kimmage is calling on cycling enthusiasts nationwide to join him and his daughter Evelyn on the CSI: Cycle for Care in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) this June. The duo will lead the way, covering 600km across the stunning landscapes of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy in just 5 days. They will be pedalling for the IHF’s Nurses for Night Care service, which provides care to people in their own homes at the end of life right around the country. This is a fantastic way to challenge yourself and see the beautiful mountains and beaches of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. Starting in Piran and staying in picturesque towns along the way to Trieste, you will be supported throughout your journey by the IHF team.  Flights, accommodation and full board are included and full details can be found here or by calling 01 6793188. Registration closes Friday 16 March. Read more here.

New Year New You

Posted on: December 22nd, 2017

It’s that time of year that we all start thinking of our new year’s resolutions.  Why not start the year by signing up to one of our charity challenges?

Our Cycle Challenge will take place from 23-30th June and for the first time we will be taking on three countries Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. Find out more HERE.


Our Camino Challenge will be taking place in September and our brochure will be available early in 2018. You can register your interest HERE and we will send you full details as soon as they are available.


CEOL Compassionate End of Life in Residential Care Centres – A Quality Improvement Approach

Posted on: November 23rd, 2017
Photographer - Paul Sherwood paul@sherwood.ie 087 230 9096

Irish Hospice Foundation CEOL ‘Compassionate End of Life’ programme launch

CEOL which stands for ‘Compassionate End of Life’ empowers all staff to provide the best possible end-of-life care for people living in residential care centres (RCC) in Ireland.


“All of us want assurance that the care our loved ones receive at end of life in residential care should be the best. The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) developed the Journey of Change programme to enable RCC (where 25% of people die each year) continually review and reflect the care they provide at end of life and introduce changes so that residents needs and their families are met in a truly holistic manner. We are very proud and grateful to the 100 RCC sites that participated in the first phase of the p rogram, and particularly those who engaged in the evaluation, which has informed the next phase CEOL” according to Marie Lynch, Head of Healthcare programmes, Irish Hospice Foundation.


This launch is the next step to introduce a national framework that will enable residential care centres keep a constant focused on providing compassion at end of life for residents, families and staff.


The Irish Hospice Foundation is pleased to announce our partnership with Beechfield Care Group, and we are delighted that Sarah McMickan CEO of Beechfield Care Group will formally launch the CEOL programme.  We have agreed to work together to achieve the recognition amongst providers and policy makers that end-of-life care is a key component of quality care in nursing homes, and will be advocating for required investment to ensure this takes place.


“As CEO of Beechfield Care Group, I am very aware of how important it is for the residential care sector to continually seek improvements from the broadest perspective in the delivery of person centred care as residents approach the end of their life.  For this reason I am delighted to launch the Irish Hospice Foundation CEOL programme; it will be very helpful to the sector to have a formal framework to support the delivery of compassionate care at end of life. This will become increasingly important with the change in Ireland’s demographics, and more people dying in residential care settings,” said Ms Mickan.


In Ireland there are currently over 28,000 people living in residential care, with approximately 7,000 people dying each year in these settings. As highlighted by the latest ERSI report (Projections of demand for healthcare in Ireland, 2015-2030) the number of people living in nursing homes is projected to increase by between 40 to 54 per cent by 2030.


Providing compassionate care for residents approaching the end of their life is a fundamental component of person-centred care.  The CEOL Programme enables staff to continuously review, reflect and improve the end-of-life care they provide for residents, their families and the staff themselves. The programme embeds a continuous quality improvement approach and is built around the needs of the individual, with the resident always at the heart of every decision.  Good end-of-life care is about being supported to live well until you die.


The pilot phase of the programme called ‘A Journey of Change’ ran from 2015 to 2016 in which over 100 RCC’s participated in. Dr Kathy Walsh (KW Research and Associates Ltd) conducted an independent evaluation of the Journey of Change programme and found that that it has the capacity to improve end-of-life care in participating residential care centres.  “Where all elements of the Programme have been implemented, there have been significant changes in practice in relation to End-of-Life Care (EOLC) planning, at time of death and after death, with staff less likely to want to transfer patients to hospital toward end of life.” (Dr Kathy Walsh, 2017).


The feedback from staff has been extremely positive, with staff reporting that their confidence and communication skills in relation to end-of-life care had improved as a result of their participation in the Programme. The Journey of Change Evaluation report also identified staff development in term of recognising and providing caring to a dying person, accessing specialist palliative care earlier, accessing GP services earlier, pain management and supporting the person to die in the care centre as per the wishes of the resident.


Staff from St Oliver Plunkett Community Hospital who have participated in the programme have reported ‘because we are more confident talking to our residents about death and end of life, we have a lot more conversations with them about what they want, like and dislike.  As a result, we know a lot more about what our residents want at end of life and we do our very best to give them what they want’.

Cherish your loved one’s memory and support our Never Forgotten Appeal

Posted on: November 20th, 2017

Let’s make this a Christmas to Remember

Christmas is a special time in Ireland. One where families make a special effort to come together and enjoy each other’s company. But for those who are feeling the loss of a loved one, it can also be a sad and lonely time. When a loved one dies, the times you shared come flooding back.

We invite you to share your precious memories in our beautiful Book of Remembrance and support a worthy cause this Christmas.

  • Leave a message for your loved one.
  • Know that you have helped someone in their most crucial time of need.

This year Lynda and Pat Foley are remembering their darling son Liam in this special way.





“Liam had been ill in the womb. We had been advised that all may not be well after birth, but to everyone’s amazement, he was absolutely perfect. Looking back now, this was our miracle. But sadly it was to be the only one. Liam couldn't speak or hear, he couldn't walk and he was fed with the use of a pump. But to us, he was perfect. He had a real smile and a most beautiful laugh. He was great company. It is what we all miss most about him.
We had two and a half good years with Liam but unfortunately everything changed for the worse towards the end of 2012. Liam’s body was beginning to fail him. We got home and set about celebrating Christmas. Sadly it was to be our last one together. In early December that year we travelled to Moyasta in County Clare. We had heard during the week that Santa was going to pay a visit to the train station in this beautiful village. As Liam had a real love of trains, we felt what better way to spend what many of Liam’s doctors felt would be his last Christmas with us.
The five of us made the one-hour journey to the west Clare village. Each one of us was as excited as the next. When we arrived we were greeted by the Whelan family. To them we were just an ordinary family who came to meet their very special visitor. We didn’t want it any other way. Liam always brought the best out in everybody…that day was no different. He just seemed to draw everybody around him. We stepped back and watched as David, Sadhbh and Liam lead us around this magical corner of County Clare.
We all met Santa and enjoyed our time with him. But what was to follow surpassed even that excitement. We opened a door at the end of the room leading us into an open yard. There to greet us was a wonderful old steam train. It was waiting to take us on a beautiful journey of the countryside. It really was a magical day. Liam was the boss. Liam would boss you without you ever feeling you were being bossed. He had that way about him. He fed off the excitement surrounding him.That day it felt like everyone knew our story but deep down we knew nobody did. It was to be our last Christmas together, the five of us.
Liam always had the job of turning on the Christmas lights. He enjoyed watching the tree being decorated and couldn’t wait to be wheeled in and out with his decorations. He even liked to be decorated himself! But the lights were always his favourite.
Sadly, our journey with our truly amazing and beautiful son came to an end one year later on 3rd December 2013. Liam’s final weeks were spent at home in his own room, surrounded by us and his many friends. We could care for Liam in a way that we never thought possible with the help of our outreach nurse, Hilary. Hilary shared Liam’s final hours. Liam had a beautiful death and we owe that to her and The Irish Hospice Foundation. They help both adults and children like Liam die at home in peace and comfort and support their families at a most difficult time."

Make this a Christmas to remember with a tribute to your loved one and your support will help people live well until the end.

Welcoming new Palliative Care Framework

Posted on: November 17th, 2017
The Irish Hospice Foundation has warmly welcomed a new framework which informs the development of Irish adult palliative care services for the next 3 years.

Seamless Care Pathway

The aim is to ensure a seamless care pathway across inpatient, homecare, nursing home, acute hospital and day care services. It recommends that specialist palliative care services should be available to all patients in need, wherever they are, and whatever their disease. Proposes targeted investment to develop service provision over 3 year timeframe and align service levels as recommended in the ‘Report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care’ (2001).
Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Sharon Foley welcomed the new framework and is looking forward to working in unison with all bodies to ensure specialist palliative care services is available to all patients in need, wherever they are, and whatever their disease.

Palliative Care Services Development Framework Launch 730/3

In the picture: John Hennessy, HSE National Director for Primary Care, Minister for Health Simon Harris, Sheilagh Reaper-Reynolds, HSE National Lead for Palliative Care

The HSE has launched ‘Palliative Care Services Three Year Development Framework - 2017 to 2019’. The Framework informs the development of adult palliative care services, both generalist and specialist, in Ireland for the three-year period from 2017 - 2019. Its aim is to ensure a seamless care pathway across inpatient, homecare, nursing home, acute hospital and day care services.

Palliative care is an active and total approach to care from the point of diagnosis through to death and beyond. It embraces the physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements of care and engages with patients and families as equal decision makers in that care. The Framework being launched today aims to enhance palliative care service delivery in both community and acute hospital services, with a major focus being placed at all times on the delivery of quality person-centred, safe care for patients and their families.

Speaking at the launch Minister for Health Simon Harris said, "Palliative care is a key part of our health service and it is essential that when it comes to end of life people are treated with dignity and respect. These values must be enshrined in the quality of care which is provided to patients and their families. We must also work to ensure that palliative care services are accessible across the country and that there is an integrated pathway across in-patient, homecare, nursing home, acute hospital and day care services. As Minister for Health I welcome the publication of this important three year Framework and I am assured that my Department will continue to work closely with the HSE on the implementation of its recommendations and actions."

Welcoming the publication, John Hennessy, HSE National Director for Primary Care said, “The focus of the Framework was to identify the gaps that exist in the current level of service provision and to present a set of recommendations and actions which over the duration of the Framework (and at times beyond) would seek to address these service issues / deficits, subject to available resources. The Framework looks at palliative care service delivery in both community and acute hospital services, with a major focus being placed at all times on the delivery of quality person-centred, safe care for patients and their families.

“A key objective for the Steering Group was to seek to improve access to palliative care services across the country, particularly in those areas which for the last number of years have been identified as inpatient service ’blackspots’.  There are clear recommendations contained in the Framework which, on implementation, will achieve this objective.”

Sheilagh Reaper-Reynolds, HSE National Lead for Palliative Care said, “This framework captures the core issues that face us in improving palliative care services for people living with life limiting illnesses and their families. Focused consultation took place with many key stakeholders, including service user representative bodies and organisations, healthcare staff and management. This feedback enables us to plan together the development of palliative care services in a much more effective way that is going to meet the needs of our changing population”.

The Framework recommends that specialist palliative care services should be available to all patients in need, wherever they are and whatever their disease. It highlights that there are still areas of the country without an inpatient unit, most notably in the Midlands, the South East, and the North East. Other areas do not have the recommended bed complement and/or the recommended staffing levels. In addressing these shortcomings, the Framework sets out recommendations to ensure that by 2021, there will be equitable access to specialist inpatient palliative care services throughout the country.

It notes that full access to palliative care services for patients with non-malignant disease is now the norm in the sector, with service providers accepting referrals based on need rather than condition. While the work of making palliative care available to patients with non-cancer conditions must continue, attention should now also extend to the needs of vulnerable populations such as people with disabilities, migrants, and prisoners.

The Framework states that by investing in properly resourced community services to care for patients with both malignant and non-malignant diseases, particularly in the last three months of life, this leads to reduced inappropriate hospital admissions, more appropriate care pathways and improved experience for patients and their families.

The Framework complements and builds on the government’s palliative care services policy document ‘Report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care’, published in 2001. It proposes targeted investment to develop palliative care service provision over its timeframe and align service levels with those recommended in the 2001 Report.

Download the report.

Children – The Forgotten Mourner – Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week Starts Today

Posted on: November 13th, 2017
Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week (BCAW) commences today Monday to highlight the needs of bereaved children and how to support them through difficult periods of loss. Organised by The Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN), the week coincides with Universal Children’s Day and helps those supporting bereaved children including parents, carers, teachers, sports groups, faith communities or friends in their local communities.

'Children Grieve Too' is Key Theme

“‘Children Grieve Too’ is the key message for next week. We’re highlighting that we all have a part to play in supporting children through the journey of grief,” said Brid Carroll, Chair, ICBN.
“Unlike adults, children dip in and out of grief which is often termed ‘puddle grief’. It can be intermittent and intense but also can pass quickly, distracted by friends and activities. Children also tend to protect parents from their pain and upset. This often leaves their grief unrecognised.
Grief in childhood and teens makes the young person feel different from their peers. Children try to control their grief holding it in and pretending nothing has happened. This can be isolating. Each child in a family grieves differently due to their personality, gender and the relationship they had with the person who has died,” said Ms Carroll. In Ireland 80 people die daily. These are the parents, grandparents, cousins and siblings of our 1.2million children. Children grieve too with 2.2% of nine year olds having lost a parent, 6% a close friend and 28% a grandparent.

For 40 years I had pent-up anger about not being allowed to say goodbye to my father

Britain’s first Children’s Commissioner Professor Sir Al Aynsley Green is speaking in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin on Tuesday as part of BCAW about meeting the needs of children where someone close to them dies in an adult acute hospital.
Sir Al commented: “For 40 years I had pent-up anger about not being allowed to say goodbye to my father before he died when I was 10 years old; nor see his body before the funeral. We know there is a huge toll of unresolved grief in adults bereaved as a child of someone they love.
There needs to be more focus on how death is handled across society especially in supporting grieving children and we need to ‘Think Adult, Think Child’. In other words, making sure those caring for a dying adult ask what does the death mean for the children in the family. There is hard evidence of what’s most important for bereaved children; death needs to be seen as part of life, children’s fears and anxieties need to be addressed and children need to be listened to carefully to encourage them to talk about what they feel.

'Think Adult, Think Child'

“I will be speaking in Beaumont Hospital on Tuesday about ‘Think Adult, Think Child’ for health care professionals and meeting the needs of children where someone close to them dies in an adult acute hospital.” Events are taking place nationwide throughout the week. The ICBN is hosted by the Irish Hospice Foundation and funded together with Tusla. See www.childhoodbereavement.ie for more info.  

Ireland’s First Standards for Childhood Bereavement Care Launched

Posted on: November 12th, 2017
6 November, Dublin – Ireland’s first ever standards for childhood bereavement care were launched by Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children in The Irish Hospice Foundation office on Nassau Street, Dublin.

A Vision for Bereavement Support for Children

‘Standards for Supporting Bereaved Children and Young People - A Framework for Development’ was developed by the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN) following public and professional consultation. The standards illustrate a multi-layered vision for bereavement support to emphasise the highest level of care that our bereaved children and young people deserve.
'This support is key to helping children suffering from bereavement early and effectively'
Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children said: "I am delighted to launch Ireland’s first ever standards for childhood bereavement care. I very much support the development of these standards which will help support our children and young people as they try to deal with the trauma that is bereavement. I am very pleased to see that counselling services in the community have been highlighted as essential in the standards. This support is key to helping children suffering from bereavement early and effectively. I look forward to the implementation of these standards in the best interest of children and young people all over Ireland."

Helping a Child in your Family, Classroom or Community

The ICBN say the standards will be used as a benchmark for planning, provision and quality review. Speaking today, Anne Marie Jones, Chair of the ICBN Standards Group said: “This resource will be helpful to adults who wonder what they can do for a child in their family, a child in their classroom, a child in their GAA club or the bereaved children in their political constituency. It is a vision for how we as a society can recognise and support bereavement children.
'To ensure that our bereaved children grow into strong and mentally healthy young people'
We invite a strong national recognition of the critical importance of this vision, to ensure that our bereaved children grow into strong and mentally healthy young people who have learned the skills that they need and been provided the timely support that they may need, to journey through their bereavement.”   This framework is directed at all adults, professionals, volunteer organisations and policy makers who are concerned about bereaved children and young people. ICBN will review these standards and associated criteria every three years in the expectation that additional emphases, criteria and examples of achievement can be added.

Bereaved Children's Awareness Week, 13th - 18th November

Today’s launch also kick-starts Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week (13-18th November) which promotes greater awareness and understanding of children’s grief. Early and consistent healthy support within families and communities can lead to better outcomes for a bereaved child. Download the Standards for Supporting Bereaved Children and Young People - A Framework for Development here    

Annual November Public Information Evening on Bereavement 2017

Posted on: November 9th, 2017
Our annual November public information evening on bereavement was held on 2nd November.  This annual event aims to provide information about grief and the range of supports available to bereaved people.  The evening opened with an introduction followed by a number of talks and video presentations.  Guest speaker Laura Kennedy (Columnist with The Irish Times, author of the personal reflection column ‘Leavetaking’) spoke on the theme ‘Living with Loss’.  At the event a number of voluntary bereavement support services and professional therapeutic services were represented (listed below).  The audience had an opportunity to visit these stands and be informed of what services they provide.  Admission is free to this annual November event which is open to all members of the public, in particular to those that have been bereaved.
  If you would like to be notified of this event in the future please contact Iris Murray Tel 01 679 3188 email [email protected]
A Little Lifetime Foundation, Anam Cara Parental & Sibling Bereavement Support, Barnardos Children’s Bereavement Service, Beginning Experience, Bethany Bereavement Support Group, Citizens Information Service, Féileacáin (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Association of Ireland), FirstLight, Irish Childhood Bereavement Network, Irish Hospice Foundation, Living Links, Miscarriage Association of Ireland, PCI Counselling Service, Pieta House Bereavement Services, Purple House Cancer Support, Rainbows Ireland, SAH (Support After Homicide), Turas Le Cheile Bereavement Support Service, Turning Point, Village Counselling Service

Have you sent your completed CHY3 Cert back to us? Clock is ticking…

Posted on: October 18th, 2017

A while ago we sent our generous supporters  a reminder letter about the charity tax back scheme and a CHY3 cert enclosed. If you received it, please don’t wait, return it today!

We will be submitting our claim to the Revenue Commissioners in the coming weeks so it’s vital your form comes in before that. It only takes a minute. We’ve made it as easy as possible. In just three quick steps you can release the full potential of your generous gift to us, so please complete, sign and return the form we sent you. It’s as simple as that. And it still won’t cost you a single cent more!

Thank you for your prompt response!

For more information on our Tax Back Campaign please click HERE