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Huge Thank you to all who supported the Riverdance DanceAthon!

Posted on: July 29th, 2016

The curtain falls on the first 24 Hour DanceAthon ever hosted by Riverdance in aid of The Irish Hospice Foundation

Friday 22nd July at 12 noon, after 24 hours of continuous dance, the first 24 Hour DanceAthon ever hosted by Riverdance came to a triumphant close. This dance marathon was undertaken to raise awareness and funds for the vital work of The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF). The charity (IHF) supplies vital 24 hour care and this 24 hours of Irish dance was undertaken to highlight their round the clock work. Over €10,000 was raised for The IHF's Nurses for Night Care Service which enables people to die in comfort and dignity in their own home.

The DanceAthon outside the Gaiety theatre, began at 12 noon Thursday 21 July, when it was kicked off by members of the Riverdance troupe performing on the plaza. A special performance area had been built outside the theatre and over the next 24 hours Riverdancers from the show and dancers from a number of dance schools around the country took to the outdoor stage for charity. Early morning risers were also given the chance to join Riverdance dancers for their morning fitness regime when members of the troupe worked out on the Gaiety plaza from 6am-8am Friday morning. Volunteers from the Irish Hospice Foundation were there throughout the day and night to encourage passers by to join in the dance (which many did!) and to collect donations. Those unable to get to the Gaiety could watch updates from the event as it unfolded on line using the hashtags #Riverdance #DanceAthon and donate online The producers of Riverdance sent their thanks to all the dancers who took part and to the support team at the Gaiety Theatre who played such a key role during the 24 hours. Sharon Foley, CEO, The Irish Hospice Foundation said: “What an incredibly special 24 hours of Irish dance. We are blown away by Riverdance, the public support and help from everyone who made the DanceAthon a reality. Our heartfelt thanks for the wonderful donations. Every euro goes directly to our Nurses for Night Care service which allows more people to be cared for in the comfort of their home at end of life. This gives more families more choices. As demand for the service grows annually I am extremely grateful to Riverdance for hosting the DanceAthon and choosing The IHF.” Though the 24 Hour DanceAthon is over the dance continues on the Gaiety Theatre stage throughout the summer. Riverdance has returned home to Dublin to celebrate its 21st anniversary and the show runs at the Gaiety Theatre until 4th September. Thank you also to KC Peaches, Jump Juice Bar, Base Pizza, Butlers Café, Wagamama and The Card Gallery for their support of the DanceAthon.

Are we ready to “Think Ahead”? Research says yes

Posted on: July 18th, 2016

Research on end-of-life planning shows Irish patients are well able to "Think Ahead"

are we ready to think ahead

Dr. Brendan O’Shea's research is featured in the report ‘Are We Ready to “Think Ahead”? Acceptability Study Using an Innovative End of Life Planning Tool’.

The Irish Hospice Foundation and the Forum on End of Life in Ireland have today (21st 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 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, financial, 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
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 difficulty 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 was incorporated into the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill 2013.
Copies of the Think Ahead form are can be accessed and downloaded here.
Click here to download this document.
Visit Irish Medical Journal website at www.imj.ie.

Matt Cooper talks about Think Ahead & DNR decision on the Saturday Night Show

Posted on: July 18th, 2016

Matt Cooper talks about Think Ahead

Matt Cooper talks about Think Ahead

Matt Cooper, host of “The Last Word”, discusses DNR decisions and the Think Ahead programme on the Saturday Night Show in January 2015.

For most of us, discussions and signing of  Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders will only happen once. But Matt Cooper, host of “The Last Word” was faced with the difficult decision of signing DNR consents for both parents. Matt spoke about this experience with Brendan O'Connor on the Saturday Night Show in January 2015. He also referenced the Think Ahead form and encouraged members of the public to plan for end of life situations. Read Matt's story here

Think Ahead – One Family’s Story

Posted on: July 18th, 2016

Wendy plans for end-of-life with Think Ahead

Think Ahead - One Family's Story

Helen and Wendy Coughlan talk about how Think Ahead helped them plan for Wendy's end-of-life care.

Wendy Coughlan from Greystones, who has terminal cancer, discusses how she has used the Think Ahead Form. Wendy has used Think Ahead to plan for her end-of-life care with her family. In this video, she and her daughter, Helen, speak openly and passionately about how Think Ahead has helped the entire family on this journey.

Think Ahead - One Family's Story

Click here to listen to Wendy and Helen on The John Murray Show on RTE Radio 1.

Briefing paper on Advance Healthcare Directives

Posted on: July 18th, 2016

Briefing paper on advance healthcare directives

Questions and answers on Advance Healthcare Directives

This briefing paper answers some of the questions people may have about the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) bill and the issue of Advance Care Directives.

"This act provides a legislative policy framework which supports our work to enable people think about what they want for themselves at end of life, primarily through the Think Ahead programme."

-- Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation. Advance Healthcare Directives Briefing Paper January 2016

Statement from our CEO in relation to recent charity revelations

Posted on: July 15th, 2016

Open – Honest – Transparent

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) believe in being open and transparent about our finances. All accounts and annual reports are available here from 2001. Revelations regarding funds governance at the suicide prevention charity Console shocked and saddened us.  We want to take this opportunity to thank you for believing in us and reiterate our 100% commitment to high standards in the running of The IHF. We earn your trust by demonstrating excellence in governance, fundraising and robust financial oversight mechanisms - a ‘triple lock approach’.
In 2015, we fully signed up to the Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland. Our fundraising team is guided by the ‘Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising’ and we continue to report our financial transactions in line with best practice. In 2015, our financial statements were prepared in accordance with FRS102 and the Charities SORP (FRS102).
Everyone in the IHF is 100% committed to strive for better end-of-life care for everyone everywhere. Heartfelt thanks for your continued support. Sharon Foley CEO
Irish Hospice Foundation. May 2016.

Sharon Foley, CEO Irish Hospice Foundation.

New Report Reveals Only 210 Dementia Patients Die at Home Every Year

Posted on: July 12th, 2016
ONLY 210 of the 4,200 people with dementia that die in Ireland each year die at home, according to a new report. The Irish Hospice Foundation research estimates that 2,310 people with dementia die in residential care settings every year. A further 1,680 die in acute hospitals. But the national charity estimates that only 210 people with dementia die in their own homes.
“While we recognise that dying at home may not be feasible or desirable for everyone, more can be done to facilitate people at end-of-life to be cared for and die in their home if that is their wish,” IHF Head of Health Care Programmes Marie Lynch said.
She added: “With the publication of the National Dementia Strategy, there is a welcome emphasis on early diagnosis and establishing a dementia friendly Ireland to enable people with dementia to live with in their local communities. However the needs of people with advanced dementia are not often discussed and little is known about what supports people with dementia need to enable them to live well and die well in their own homes.” It’s estimated that the IHF’s Nurses for Night Care Service reaches about half of the dementia patients who die at home every year. The IHF noticed an increase in referrals of people with dementia to the service in recent years. It carried out an audit of the 52 people with dementia referred to the service over a six month period in 2015. In over half of the cases the decision to die at home was made in advance by the person with dementia or their families. The average age of people with dementia cared for by the programme was 81. Almost three out of four lived in their own home and one in four were living with a family member. Two out of five of the sample reported that having a supportive GP was essential. GPs carried out weekly home visits to 63 per cent of people in the sample. Three out of every four families were providing 24 hour care to the person with dementia in the home.  Many families were supplementing home care packages using personal income and 7 per cent of families were paying for live-in 24 hour care privately. There were a higher number of females supported to die at home – 74 per cent – than males. The care recipients’ homes were evenly divided between urban and rural locations. The IHF study found having access and early referral to specialist palliative care services in the community almost doubled the likelihood of a person remaining at home and achieving a home death. Having a supportive GP who discusses preferences with people about their future and end-of-life care, shares this information and is flexible in relation to providing home visits and telephone support also improves the likelihood of someone with dementia achieving a home death. The availability of family and friends to provide care to the person with dementia in their home is one of the most significant factors in achieving a home death. Based on the findings of the audit the IHF is now calling on healthcare workers and service planners to support more people with dementia to die well at home. In a series of recommendations the IHF is calling on healthcare workers to create early and repeated opportunities for people with dementia to engage in discussions about their preferences relating to their future and end-of-life care. It is calling on GPs and Out-of-Hours Services to continue to provide flexible home responses for people with dementia. It is pledging to advocate for incentives which would facilitate GPs to carryout home visits for people with advancing life-limiting illness, including those living with dementia who wish to die at home. It wants the HSE to continue to fund home care packages that responds to the needs of people with dementia and enable them to be cared for and die at home. A recent IHF poll showed that three quarters of people would like to die at home but only about one in four people do. The IHF estimate on the overall number of people with dementia who get to die at home in Ireland is extrapolated from UK figures. The new study – Supporting people with dementia to die at home in Ireland – is published by the Irish Hospice Foundation. IHF Brief Report - Supporting people with dementia to die at home (2)

Running Miles for Smiles

Posted on: July 7th, 2016

Well-Known Former Offaly GAA Referee Runs Length of Grand Canal

Shannonbridge man Damien Brazil will attempt to run 132km in two days on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31 in aid of The Irish Hospice Foundation and Irish Autism Action. The first day will see Damien run from Dublin to Edenderry and on day two the former referee will complete the track to Shannon Harbour. Damien is training hard and excited about the challenge: “I was a footballer and also served on the National Referee’s Panel from 2007 to 2014. I was lucky enough to officiate in some wonderful games with some extremely talented players and fitness of course was important; but this challenge is a far greater obstacle and will see me at 49 years of age attempt a marathon and a half on both days, 132kms in total.
“This struggle for me is only minute when compared to the struggles borne by parents of autistic children or families of people who are at end-of-life and require that constant care for which there is little or no state funding. We can make a difference. So please join with me in whatever way you can to bring back a smile back to their faces.”
The Irish Hospice Foundation is extremely grateful to Damien for his efforts and for choosing to improve end-of-life care in our communities. To donate online please click HERE or phone Damien on 087 9138767. Damien’s website has links to his Facebook and Twitter. There will be collection points along the way. People are invited to join Damien on sections of the run, help with stewarding or simply support him along the way.   Website Image


If you would like to join Damien for a section of the route you can register by contacting Louise McCarron at 01 679 3188, or at any of the registration points listed below:

Saturday 30th July

  • 8.30-10am Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin
  • 11am Lucan Sarsfield GAA Grounds
  • 12noon Ardclough GAA Centre
  • 1.30pm   Sallins GAA
  • 3.30pm Glennon’s Bar, Allenwood

Sunday 31st July

  • 9am Harbour Place, Edenderry
  • 10am Rhode Parish Hall
  • 11.10am Seery’s Pub, Athlone
  • 1.30pm Tullamore GAA
  • 2pm Ballinamere Bridge
  • 3.30pm Pollagh National School
  • 4.50pm Noggus Bridge

On behalf of The Irish Hospice Foundation and Irish Autism Action, thank you so much for your generous support!

And the winner of IHF Summer Car Raffle 2016 Prize is…

Posted on: July 1st, 2016
VW Polo presentation - Raffle 2016

Paul O'Sullivan, Volkswagen Ireland presenting the brand new Volkswagen Polo to our winner, John Goggin.



A huge THANK YOU to everyone for supporting our Summer Car Raffle 2016 which was a huge success. We have raised an amazing €150,000!

All funds raised go towards our Nurses for Night Care Service which allows people to die in peace and in comfort of their own surroundings, in the heart of their family.

We are delighted to announce that the winner of this year's prize -  Volkswagen Polo is:

Mr John Goggin, Dublin

Seller’s prize of €500 goes to:

Mr Frank Keane, Dublin Congratulations!

We would also like to say huge thanks to Volkswagen Ireland for donating the car.