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Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme


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Almost 30,000 people die in Ireland each year. While a majority would like to die at home, the reality is that at least half of all deaths (48%) occur in acute hospitals, and 20% take place in long-stay care facilities such as nursing homes. Only 4% of deaths occur in hospices.

Although so many people die in hospitals, until quite recently end-of-life care was  not seen as a core activity of these institutions. To address the issues arising for patients and their families, the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme was launched in 2007, with the aim of developing and promoting a culture of care for those facing death in hospitals that would draw on the principles of hospice care.

The overall purpose of the Programme is to ensure that end-of-life care is central to the mission and everyday business of healthcare sites. It promotes high quality care for all people at the end of life regardless of diagnosis and whether the death is expected or sudden and it acknowledges the role of clinical, administrative and support staff in improving the patient’s and family’s experience.

Aims of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme

  • To develop the capacity of acute and residential care settings to meet the Quality  Standards for End-of-Life Care in Hospitals
  • To improve the culture in hospitals & residential care settings in relation to all aspects of dying, death and bereavement

 What we do



Latest News

    New Design & Dignity Style Book Available                  It is a fact that almost half of all people die in acute hospitals. While hospital staff strive to provide the best possible care for people at the end of their lives, the physical environment of hospitals can [...] Read more >

Meet the team

Mary Lovegrove. Manager  Prior to joining the Irish Hospice Foundation, Mary was National Programme Manager for the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme in the UK, a programme to redesign NHS, voluntary and social services to enable more people to be cared for and die in their place of choice at no extra cost.  She has also worked in the Healthcare [...] Read more >

Design & Dignity Project

  Our aim in the Irish Hospice Foundation is 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. [...] Read more >

Becoming a Hospice Friendly Hospital

Almost 30,000 people die in Ireland each year. While the majority of people would like to die at home, most people now die in a hospital, or similar setting, outside the home.  CSO data shows that about 29,000 people die in Ireland every year. Almost 1 in 2 (43%) of deaths take place in acute [...] Read more >

Acute Hospital Network

The Network has been established for hospital staff to share learning and collaborate on improving end of life care. It helps to develop the capacity of hospitals in meeting the Quality Standards for End-of-Life Care in Hospitals. 40 hospitals (adult, maternity and paediatric) are linked to this Network.  This network meets three times per year. [...] Read more >

Maternity & Neonatal Network*

The Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme is proud to support a number of maternity hospitals and maternity units throughout Ireland. We offer one-to-one support to hospitals who are striving to improve bereavement services and we host national information sharing events for hospital staff. Background In October 2013 the Irish Hospice Foundation through the Hospice Friendly Hospitals [...] Read more >

Community Hospital Network

Quality of Life at the End of Life A Community Hospital Network has been established in the Greater Dublin Area. The Network comprises of representatives from residential care settings, HSE local health offices, acute hospitals, specialist palliative care services, primary care services, HIQA and voluntary organisations. The purpose of the Network is to facilitate end [...] Read more >

Our Initiatives

Staff Development Workshops One of the Four Standards for End of Life Care in Hospitals requires that ‘Staff are supported through training and development to ensure they are competent and compassionate in carrying out their roles in end-of-life care’.  In response the Final Journeys suite of staff development programmes have been developed. To find out more about our workshops; Final [...] Read more >

Standards & Audit

Audit & Review of End of Life Care ‘An opportunity to press the pause button’ The Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme commissioned the first ever National Audit of End-of-Life Care in Irish hospitals. The audit showed that the quality of care for people who die in an Irish hospitals compares favourably to other hospitals in the US, [...] Read more >

Resources for end of life care

End of Life Symbol This symbol appears on many of the resources developed by the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme to respectfully identify items connected with the end of life in hospitals. In conjunction with good practice in hospitals and care facilities, the symbol aims to add respect and solemnity to items used following the death [...] Read more >

Publications & reports

Hard copies of our  publications can be requested by contacting us on Tel. 01-6793188 or Email (Enable Javascript to see the email address) You can also browse and download our publications and research articles on the Irish Hospice Foundation Collection on the LENUS Irish Health Repository.     CLICK TO ACCESS OUR PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTS   Read more >

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