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‘The God Box: A Daughter’s Story’ Irish Tour Oct 13th – 30th

Posted on: September 30th, 2016

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll want to call your mother!

 Inspiring one-woman play exploring the unique relationship between mothers and daughters to tour Ireland

 All proceeds to benefit local hospices through The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF)

Best-selling American author and renowned businesswoman, Mary Lou Quinlan, is bringing her emotional, one-woman hit play “The God Box: A Daughter’s Story” to Ireland to raise funds for local hospice groups. Based on her powerful New York Times bestselling memoir of the same name, Quinlan  - recently named as one of Irish America Magazine’s Power 50 Women - shares her personal story of a family in love, in loss and in triumph. This comic and heart wrenching play tells how after her mother’s death Mary Lou discovered “God Boxes”, small containers stuffed with hundreds of tiny notes, sharing her mother’s innermost thoughts. They revealed her concerns about her kids’ demanding careers, to private wishes for people she’d never even met, to concerns about her own health and everything in between.
The poignant notes, scribbled in supermarket queues, restaurants, and at the kitchen table, were her mother’s way of releasing life’s worries and hopes. The discovery of the boxes triggered Mary Lou’s own unraveling, a journey to confront the greatest human challenge – learning to let go.
Co-written with Martha Wollner, an award-winning actor/playwright and director of NYC’s LAByrinth Theatre, the play has been presented in theatres across the US, including a sell out Off-Broadway run. In 2014 it enjoyed a 24-night run to rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Previews in Limerick and Dun Laoghaire in 2015, and recently in Belfast, drew warm Irish receptions to this personal family story. Quinlan has donated all proceeds to hospice, cancer care and education. To date she has raised nearly $400,000. Mary Lou Quinlan is a remarkable woman. A hugely successful entrepreneur, she is widely known in the US for her marketing company, Just Ask a Woman, and as an adviser to over 100 blue chip companies on marketing to women. She was formerly CEO of a large NYC ad agency and has written four books and numerous national magazine articles in the US where she has addressed hundreds of conferences on women’s issues. She was a judge on Simon Cowell's show, American Inventor, in which people went before a panel to decide if their invention had what it takes.
All proceeds of the 2016 Irish tour will benefit local hospices through The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), a national charity striving for best care at end of life for all, and which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Funds raised will support the IHF’s programme to support the voluntary hospice movement all across Ireland.
Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Sharon Foley said: “The Irish Hospice Foundation is delighted to bring The God Box Tour to Ireland in aid of all local hospice groups. Every year we coordinate two national campaigns on behalf of local hospice groups and all funds from this exciting tour go to that fund”. Mary Lou Quinlan said: “The tender care of hospice meant so much at the most critical days of my family’s life. Sharing my mother’s story is a way I can give back and raise awareness for this cause in Ireland, the land of Mom’s ancestors and a treasured place to me and my husband Joe.”

Dates and Venues

The God Box will perform in nine venues throughout Ireland in October. All shows start at 8 p.m.  godbox-flyer-image
  • Oct 13th Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, dunamaise.ie (057) 8663355
  • Oct 14th The Everyman, Cork, everymancork.com (021) 450 1673
  • Oct 15th Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny watergatetheatre.com (056) 776 1674
  • Oct 21st Siamsa Tire, Tralee siamsatire.com (066) 712 3055
  • Oct 22nd Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick limetreetheatre.ie (061) 953400
  • Oct 27th Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo hawkswell.com (071) 916 1518
  • Oct 28th Roscommon Arts Centre, roscommonartscentre.ie (090) 6625824
  • Oct 29th Backstage Theatre, Longford backstage.ie (043) 334 7888
  • Oct 30th Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire paviliontheatre.ie (01) 231 2929
See www.thegodboxproject.com for full venue details.  

IHF Launch Seven Guidance Documents to Improve Palliative Care for People with Dementia

Posted on: September 28th, 2016
A suite of guidance documents for healthcare staff to help improve palliative care for people with dementia has been released. The seven Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) guidance documents are designed to support healthcare staff to address specific aspects of dementia palliative care in all care settings. They were developed by the IHF in collaboration with researchers at University College Cork to fill an identified gap in practice guidelines for people providing palliative dementia care. Irish Hospice Foundation, Head of Healthcare Programmes Marie Lynch said: “People dying with dementia - that may or may not have co-morbidities - are a particularly vulnerable group. They require staff to have knowledge, skills, competence and confidence in both dementia and palliative care. “Providing this care and comfort can present services with a significant challenge as each person’s journey through dementia is unique with difficulties in communication, variability in the final phase and lack of awareness about the terminal nature of dementia.  While there is growing recognition of the complexities involved in this care there was a notable void in practice guidance for staff. “These new guidelines will help to fill that void and help fulfil the IHF vision that no one should face death or bereavement without the care and support they need.” Senior lecturer, Dr Alice Coffey led the team of researchers at the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery at University College Cork to produce four of the seven new guidance documents.
Dr Coffey said: “The purpose of these guidance documents is to support healthcare staff in delivering excellence in end-of-life care for people with dementia. The guidance will also assist all caregivers in understanding the palliative care needs of people with dementia. Ultimately the benefits will be to the person with dementia and to their care and comfort.”
Palliative dementia care involves supporting the person with dementia and their family to address the pain, distress and discomfort associated with advancing dementia and invite them to participate in making decisions about future care needs. Broadcaster Valerie Cox who spent two years studying for a Master’s Degree in End-of-Life issues in UCC officially launched the documents at University College Cork. Ms Cox said: “These guidance documents are an excellent resource for professionals in all care settings and for caregivers of persons with dementia. There are fact sheets highlighting key points to guide practice. The guidance provided is up to date and evidence based.” Key areas were selected as a focus for the guides:
  • Facilitating discussion on future end-of-life care with a person with dementia.
  • Advance care planning and advance health care directives with a person with dementia.
  • Loss and grief in dementia.
  • Management of hydration and nutrition.
  • Pain assessment and management.
  • Ethical decision making in end-of-life care and the person with dementia.
  • Medication and dementia: Palliative assessment and management.
  guidance-doc-for-release The guidance documents consider all stages of dementia and include consideration of all people impacted by dementia including young people with dementia and people with intellectual disabilities. Case studies have been developed for the guidance documents representing scenarios that occur in clinical practice. While recognising that each person should be cared for on an individual basis; the case studies act as guidance to healthcare staff on ways to respond in certain situations for example when a person with dementia is experiencing loss and grief. Some case studies have been developed as a guide to illustrate the advance care planning process and the role of advance healthcare directives in practice. Dementia is a chronic, degenerative, life-limiting illness that affects mental capacity and communication. There are about 47,000 people living with dementia in Ireland with the number expected to triple to 132,000 over the next thirty years as the population ages. Recent research conducted by the IHF shows that 4,200 people with dementia die in Ireland each year. About 2,310 people with dementia die in residential care settings in Ireland every year and a further 1,680 die in acute hospitals. But the national charity estimates that only 210 people with dementia die in their own homes.   A core team of eight researchers from the School of Nursing & Midwifery, Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation at UCC and St Luke’s Home Mahon developed the guidance documents  in Pain, Hydration & Nutrition, Medication Management and Ethical Decision Making. The IHF developed the remaining three. The documents were developed as part of the Irish Hospice Foundation’s Changing Minds: Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care for People with Dementia programme funded by Atlantic Philantrophies. The guidance documents are available on-line to download and can be accessed here: Hard copies of the fact sheets can be obtained by contacting: Deirdre.shanagher@hospicefoundation.ie

IHF is One of Leading NGOs Calling for Increased Investment in Home Care in Budget 2017

Posted on: September 27th, 2016
A group of Ireland’s leading not for profit organisations and campaigners, including The Irish Hospice Foundation, is coming together today to call for increased investment in home care in Budget 2017.
The majority of people coping with the effects of ill health and disability, which includes a large number of older people and people with chronic and long-term progressive illnesses, want to remain living in their own homes, and to die at home if that is their wish. As a society we are failing to provide these people with the support they need. Home care is often seen and used as a solution to the hospital crises, but it should be seen as an integral part of long-term care in its own right.
The difference that appropriate home care can make to a family cannot be underestimated -- it can support people to live well in the community, to stay out of hospital and long-term residential care, and to remain in their own homes with their families throughout their lives. Home care is also vital in supporting Ireland’s 200,000 family carers, who provide the vast majority of care for people at home. The system relies heavily on these carers who provide nearly €4bn worth of care every year and who need our support.
Research recently published by the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice in UCD, Age Action, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Irish Association of Social Workers found that more than half of older people could remain in their own homes instead of going into long-term care if more home support services were available.
The report also showed that a multiple of resources are being invested in long-term care rather than in community-based care, despite the fact that Government policy is to support people to remain at home. Our ageing population requires a significant annual increase in home care support. The cuts to home care provision over the years have not been restored to the levels required to keep pace with the significant ageing demographics. Provision needs to increase by 4% per year to merely keep pace with these pressures. Research from Care Alliance Ireland suggests an ongoing deficit of 1.6m home care hours in 2016. This group is calling on the Government to urgently increase investment in home care in Budget 2017 so that people can remain living in their own homes for as long as possible.

Supporting the Annual LloydsPharmacy-IHF Celebration Weekend

Posted on: September 20th, 2016

Celebrate our partnership with LloydsPharmacy Ireland with a weekend of fun in stores this weekend - a percentage of  sales are kindly donated to us.

The Annual LloydsPharmacy-IHF Celebration Weekend is on Thursday - Sunday, 22 - 25 September 2016. During this weekend, LloydsPharmacy will celebrate anniversary of its establishment in Ireland, marking the event by holding numerous fundraising activities in-store. In addition to all monies raised, 2% of all sales in LloydsPharmacy stores and 10% of all online sales will go directly to The Irish Hospice Foundation  that weekend.

We recently announced an extension of our successful partnership with LloydsPharmacy for a further two years.


LloydsPharmacy and The Irish Hospice Foundation partnership renewed for a further two years

Posted on: September 19th, 2016

LloydsPharmacy and The Irish Hospice Foundation partnership renewed for a further two years

  • €68,000 raised by LloydsPharmacy to date to support work of The Irish Hospice Foundation and hospice care across Ireland.
  • LloydsPharmacy has announced an extension of its successful partnership with The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) for a further two years. The partnership will see Ireland’s largest pharmacy chain join with the IHF to raise funds and increase public awareness of the work undertaken by the charity across the country in all of its 94 pharmacy stores. To date, over €68,000 has been raised by the stores both for IHF and local hospices over the last two years.
Some key initiatives planned for 2016, include:
  • The Annual LloydsPharmacy-IHF Celebration Weekend on Thursday - Sunday, 22 - 25 September 2016. During this weekend, LloydsPharmacy will celebrate anniversary of its establishment in Ireland, marking the event by holding numerous fundraising activities in-store. In addition to all monies raised, 2% of all sales in LloydsPharmacy stores and 10% of all online sales will go directly to The Irish Hospice Foundation  that weekend;
  • In the run-up to Christmas, ‘IHF Reindeer Food’, a special food mix of oats and magic for children to leave for Santa’s reindeer to fuel their journey on Christmas Eve, will be available in LloydsPharmacy stores nationwide. All proceeds for this special reindeer treat, will go to IHF. There will also be IHF Christmas cards for sale in all stores.
  • Throughout the year IHF collection boxes will feature in all LloydsPharmacy stores, with all funds raised supporting the important work of IHF.
The IHF’s core objective is to strive for the best care at end of life for all and support for their loved ones. The IHF works across a range of areas including Hospice Friendly Hospitals, hospice home care for children, Nurses for Night Care providing support and reassurance for the person and their families in their homes. Commenting on today’s announcement, Goretti Brady, Manager of LloydsPharmacy, said: “I am delighted to announce that LloydsPharmacy is extending our successful partnership with the IHF for a further two years. Our respective organisations share many mutual objectives. Like the IHF, our pharmacists and store colleagues are often in daily contact with people at the end of their life, and with their family and friends, assist them in care and treatment. We are both committed to ensuring that patients receive the best quality of care and dignity as they approach end of life. “The IHF and the wider hospice movement undertake vital work across Ireland, which has touched and helped practically every family in Ireland over the years. We are delighted to support them in their work and look forward to building on our successful partnership over the coming two years.” Sharon Foley, CEO of The Irish Hospice Foundation noted: I want to thank LloydsPharmacy for their continued support. Healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, play a vital role in providing quality end-of-life care in communities across Ireland. Lloyd’s support helps The IHF strive for the best care at end of life for all and bring hospice care and principles to people where they are – in their communities, local hospital, residential facility or family home. The IHF is a national charity dedicated to all matters relating to dying, death and bereavement.  We receive no core State funding and rely on public support to fund our innovative programmes. The support provided by LloydsPharmacy is greatly appreciated.” ENDS.

Coffee and Smiles on Coffee Morning Day

Posted on: September 15th, 2016
A massive thank you to everyone who turned out in force to support their local hospice today. And to all the bakers out there who supplied mouth-watering treats. To every volunteer who kindly gave their time to enhance hospice services in  your area – it would not have been a success without you! Heartfelt gratitude to our many Hospice Ambassadors who attended hospices nationwide and helped raise awareness of the campaign. It’s not too late to help, you can still donate by texting to the below: text-donate picmonkey-collage1

“Their spirits were looked after, their morale was looked after. There was so much humanity in it.”

Posted on: September 13th, 2016
bg1   Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice Ambassador Brendan Gleeson delivered a second powerful interview today when he spoke about hospice care on Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show. The renowned Irish actor was also interviewed by Marian Finucane on Saturday where he encouraged people to support their local hospice this Thursday.
Brendan spoke of how his parents were cared for in St Francis Hospice: "Their spirits were looked after, their morale was looked after. There was so much humanity in it.
You have to say goodbye at some stage and I came away feeling nothing more could have been done. Humans can be the most magnificent of life forms. It’s not easy to remember that when you hear of all the horror out there and then you go to St Francis or other hospices all across the country where people volunteer and help people in dire distress. All the beauty of these relationships happen in the hospice before the person is allowed to move gently on. It’s the most amazing thing and was a total eye opener for me. Anything I can do to push the message of Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning out I will do. Find a coffee morning near you. Have a cup of coffee together on Thursday and help hospice, take an hour or two to stop and help. It makes the world a better place."
Thank you to Brendan and all Ambassadors who are supporting Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice this Thursday. If you want to host a coffee morning please go to our register page where details are available.  

“Invigoration of human spirit – hospice is a gift to families” – Ambassador Brendan Gleeson

Posted on: September 12th, 2016
8_monday_12th_5pm Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning Ambassador and renowned actor Brendan Gleeson gave a powerful interview on Marian Finucane’s RTE Radio 1 show last Saturday about the touching difference hospice care has made in his life.
Speaking to Marian, Brendan said: “It reawakened my faith in humanity. It’s magical the way death is embraced as a part of life. The hospice just embraces death in that way and gives people the finest death possible. And the gift that they allow the people around, families – there’s a beauty about it that is exquisite. “My mother and my father both ended their lives there [in St Francis Hospice, Raheny] and I’m so grateful for that. I don’t know how to express it properly how a good death is so life-affirming. It’s incredible the gift that it is,” said Brendan.
The Irish actor also praised hospice staff nationwide for the life-changing help they give to patients and their loved ones.

You can Listen back to the show HERE >>> 

Brendan will also be on Pat Kenny’s show on Tuesday 13th at 11.15am. Thank you to Brendan and all Ambassadors who are supporting Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice this Thursday.


In A Word…Hospice – Irish Times article

Posted on: September 11th, 2016

patsy-mcgarry-editedArticle by Patsy McGarry

You might say we are in recovery. Sort of. Optimism ruled most of us for the eight months that passed between my brother Pearse’s diagnosis with lung cancer and his death on July 20th last. Family members with medical knowledge were always less so. Those of us who were informed grew to cherish our ignorance as time passed, even as the evidence ground out its own grim truth. It was not so much denial as a gamble on hope.

Pearse was just 60 and the first of us siblings to die. In a large family blessed with health, his cancer came so out of left field. We had never known serious illness, none of us. Where we, his wife, children and grandchildren, our mother have been concerned, it caught all our hearts off guard and blew them open – to paraphrase Seamus Heaney.

But we remain so, so grateful. To consultant Sylvia Blascova, the oncology team and nursing staff at Galway University hospital, to consultant Ollie McAnena and nurse Terry Gallagher there too; to Dr Cathryn Bogan consultant in palliative medicine at Sligo University hospital where Pearse died, and the astounding nursing staff at its oncology unit.

They have a room there where family members can stay as we did over those last long days and nights of Pearse’s dying.

I do not know how the people at either hospital can remain so extraordinarily consistent in their compassion as they deal with death, the dying and the soon-to-be-bereaved day in, day out. It takes special and rare human beings. For they are all of that.

Next Thursday all can assist them and people like them by taking part in Ireland’s biggest coffee morning to raise funds for hospice services throughout the country.

Organised by the Irish Hospice Foundation, at hospicefoundation.ie or 01-679 3188, all proceeds go to a hospice service in your area. It stays local – but you might remember the oncology unit in Galway and Shout, the Sligo Hospital Oncology Unit Trust.

It is a vain hope that none of us will ever need a hospice service. Statistics indicate otherwise.Regardless, these wonderful people deserve all the support we can give them in making life less painful for the dying and the soon-to-be-at-a-loss. Hospice from medieval French hospice, itself from the Latinhospitium, meaning “guest house, hospitality”. inaword@irishtimes.com