Archive for May, 2014


Posted on: May 21st, 2014


The Irish Hospice Foundation and the Forum on End of Life in Ireland have today (21st May) welcomed the publication in The Irish Medical Journal (IMJ) this month of a General Practice based study which found a strongly positive response by  patients to a request to consider and record their detailed preferences regarding their own end-of-life care.

A scientific paper in the peer reviewed journal entitled ‘Are We Ready to “Think Ahead”? Acceptability Study Using an Innovative End of Life Planning Tool’ captures the results of a study by Dr Brendan O’Shea (Lecturer in General Practice at Trinity College) and his Colleagues on the TCD HSE GP Training Scheme.  The study involved 100 clinically stable patients in five GP Training Practices attending their GP for routine care.  Participants were provided with a “Think Ahead” form and their experience of filling out the form was later explored by telephone survey. 

Think Ahead is a citizen-led advance planning tool which has been developed by the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland – an initiative of the Irish Hospice Foundation.   It guides people in looking at and recording all aspects of end of life:  legal, economic, healthcare preferences and wishes for organ donation and funeral arrangements.  The study team was supported by the Forum on End of Life in Ireland and the Irish Hospice Foundation. 

Key results included:

  • 63% reported “no difficulty” completing the form
  • 76% completed all or part of the form
  • 74% indicated they did not find completing the form to cause upset
  • 87% felt that the Think Ahead document should be made more widely available
  • 68%indicated they felt “Think Ahead” would be of general interest
  • 83% had discussions on end-of-life planning with family members after reading Think Ahead

Dr O’Shea commented: “Our study has found that the GP surgery is a good location to introduce end-of-life conversations, and a planning tool such as Think Ahead is invaluable.  Our study found high levels of acceptability and positive experience for most patients.  Most had no difficult in completing the form, were not upset by it and felt it should be more widely available.  The form itself was effective in encouraging discussions on end-of-life issues with family.”

Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, Chairperson of the National Council, commented: “Dr O’Shea’s  research shows a very positive response from the public to the notion of planning ahead.  End-of-life discussions can be uncomfortable for many of us but they are essential on a societal as well as a personal level.  Dr O’Shea’s research has been vital in informing the future development of Think Ahead.”

Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation, stated: “Think Ahead was developed following a year-long public consultation process where people said they wanted a tool of this kind.  It is continually being tested to ensure that it is meeting the needs of the public.”

The Think Ahead form provides for an Advance Healthcare Directive.  While Advance Healthcare Directives are recognised in common law, a provision to legislate for Advance Healthcare Directives is to be incorporated into the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill 2013.  

Copies of Think Ahead are available from the Irish Hospice Foundation (01-679 3188) or can be downloaded from  

To download press release, please click HERE.

Vote for the IHF!

Posted on: May 12th, 2014

In 2014 Londis celebrates 60 years serving local communities. To mark this wonderful anniversary they are giving their customers the chance to share out €60,000 of their money between three deserving charity partners that had been selected by Londis network of community retailers. The Irish Hospice Foundation are absolutely delighted to be one of the lucky three but now we need help from our loyal supporters!

Please make sure to visit your local Londis store and vote for us!

It's very simple! 

For every purchase you make in your local Londis store, you will receive a Londis Token. Use your token and vote for us.
The more tokens we get the bigger share of €60,000 will go to the Irish Hospice Foundation!

Spread the word!

Tell your friends, contacts, family to do the same! So pop into your local Londis or Londis PLUS store and have your say every time you shop!



Posted on: May 1st, 2014




The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has announced today that the national Hospice Sunflower Days collection for local hospice services will take place on Friday, 6th June and Saturday, 7th June.

Next month, 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.


Launching Hospice Sunflower Days, RTE’s Mary Kennedy commented: “Communities throughout Ireland have played a pivotal role in developing hospice services. This year the support is even more important considering the difficult environment charities are operating in. We hope the public will continue to give generously to this very worthy cause and remember a donation can go a long way to bringing comfort and dignity to people at the end-of-life.”


Pat Quinlan, Chief Executive Officer of Milford Care Centre and Chair of the Voluntary Hospices Group, commented:  “Across the country, the number of people seeking hospice care services continues to increase and at a time when funding resources, both public and voluntary, have become more scarce. This year, we are more reliant than ever on the generosity and goodwill of our supporters and volunteers and we are most mindful of the fact that confidence in the charity sector in general is at an all-time low.  Yet, we mustn’t lose sight of what Hospice Care stands for and we would appeal to people to support their local service to enable us to continue to help the most vulnerable members in our communities and most often at a time of greatest need.  Sunflower Days is a vital source of funding for local hospice services so please donate on June 6th & 7th and if you have a few hours to spare please consider volunteering.”


The launch of Hospice Sunflower Days was also marked with the presentation of awards to “Sunflower Heroes.”  In place for five years, the initiative honours the work of volunteers throughout the country, who work tirelessly on behalf of their local hospice service.


Hospice or palliative care involves the total care of patients and their families at the stage in a serious illness, where the focus has switched from treatment aimed at cure to ensuring quality of life.  About 29,000 people die annually in Ireland and over 6,000 people use hospice services every year.


For more information and to volunteer with your local hospice service for Hospice Sunflower Days visit