About Design & Dignity

The Irish Hospice Foundation aims to make the experience of dying as positive as it can be, both for those going through it and for those left behind. In partnership with Ireland’s Health Service Executive we are working with hospital managers and staff to improve care at the end of life. We aim to ensure that hospitals apply the principles of hospice care for the dying, the deceased and the bereaved. And this is where our Design & Dignity Project comes in.

The aim of Design & Dignity is to fund ‘exemplar’ projects in public hospitals, transform the way hospital spaces are designed for people at the end of life and their families, and set the standard for other hospitals to follow.

We are renovating shabby storage rooms, turning them into oases of calm where bad news can be broken sensitively or where families can gather and have a cup of tea. We are re-designing viewing rooms where people first see a deceased loved one, with quiet ante-rooms to allow for a catching of breath. We are transforming neglected mortuaries into havens of peace.

In human terms, the impact of all of this can be immense.  For the person nearing the end of life, it means not being deprived of the space and privacy for intimate discussions and special moments with loved ones, just when it is most wanted.  For hospital staff, it means not having to break bad news in busy public spaces.  For families, it means not having to struggle to put an acceptable face on intensely private emotions, or seeing a deceased family member for the first time in a grim mortuary.

‘Architecture should protect man at his weakest’

Alvor Alto, Finnish Architect

Read more detail about the project and funded projects in our Design & Dignity Project Brochure 

“Life is a journey and we hope that for those who have ended their journey in our hospital that it was compassionate, peaceful and with dignity. We know that our project will act as an exemplar project will act as an exemplar project for future developments in end-of-life care nationally” 

Ms Sandra Day, Chief Executive, Mercy University Hospital 

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