Home Archive by category "Latest News"

Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category

IHF Statement (8 August 2019): Emergency Medical Cards

Posted on: August 8th, 2019

Statement August 8 2019

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has today warmly welcomed the addition of information to the HSE website about emergency medical cards for people with a terminal illness.

The IHF has been campaigning since 2014 for the HSE to give prominence to and make accessible on its website and in other appropriate publications, the special application process for medical cards without means test to people who have a limited prognosis.

The new information on the website makes it clear that only healthcare professionals can make an application for an emergency medical card.  People who have a life-limiting illness and a limited prognosis will now be able to discuss their medical card needs with their healthcare team and be assured that they will be best placed to make the appropriate application.   See more here.

Emergency medical cards for people with terminal illness are a positive and appropriate provision by the State to support people within their last months of life.  The fact that there is now public confirmation that medical cards given on this ground will not be reviewed will bring relief to many people who were anxious about facing a means test at this most challenging time.

This new consistency and clarity in messaging is very welcome and will, we hope, help to ease the one of the many burdens faced by patients, families and carers.


Posted on: July 24th, 2019
Wednesday 24 July 2019


The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) very much supports the provision of medical cards without means test to people with a life-limiting illness who are approaching end of life.  We believe it to be an appropriate, compassionate and cost-effective measure.  What is sad is that inconsistency in messaging and operation of the scheme is causing untold anxiety for such people.
We are deeply disappointed to learn that despite a concerted advocacy campaign by IHF and political assurances to the contrary dating back to 2014, people who receive medical cards on this basis are still being sent means-test forms to complete after they have had the card after six months. 
The operation of the scheme on the ground has moved very far from the (then) Minister’s policy statement in 2014, repeated in the Dáil in 2016 (Parliamentary Question 413 of 22 March 2016).  What is worse is that the HSE is sending out contradictory information about peoples’ entitlements.  According to information given by the HSE (Parliamentary Question 2403/18) “Medical card eligibility is granted for an indefinite period, or for a limited time period, as seems appropriate in individual circumstances.” However, statements to the Irish Examiner (23 July 2019) suggest that policy “since 2012” has been that “Patients wanting an extension need to submit to a means test after five months”. 
The last thing people approaching end of life and their families need is to be burdened with additional and often onerous means-testing when their limited prognosis has been certified by a medical practitioner in the first instance and they are six months further on their journey than when the card was first granted.  Contradictory and confused messaging from the HSE about the application process only adds insult to injury.
The HSE must give prominence to and make accessible on the HSE website and in other appropriate publications, the special application process for medical cards without means test to people who have a limited prognosis and are approaching end of life.  Above all it must clarify the exact criteria which apply to eligibility in these circumstances. 
This is a most positive and appropriate provision by the State to support people within their last months of life.  It is most unfortunate that it is becoming burdensome and clouded by confusion for the very people it seeks to help. 
For more information on the process of applying for an emergency medical card, go here

Our Summer Raffle 2019 winners announced!

Posted on: July 10th, 2019

IHF Summer Raffle 2019 winners announced!

We are delighted to announce winners of our Summer Raffle 2019 draw that took place today, 10th July in our offices:

  • 1ST PRIZE – €3,000:

    Ann Dunbar, Wexford (ticket number 214095)

  • 2ND PRIZE – €1,000:

    Paul Kelly, Kildare (ticket number 0202215)


    Elaine Ryall, Cork (ticket number 026965)


    Kieran McGee, Monaghan



Sharon Foley, IHF CEO with Garda Frank Johnson and Clare Martin, IHF Fundraising Manager at our Summer Raffle draw on 10th July 2019.

MSc Loss & Bereavement (Counselling): Apply Now!

Posted on: July 7th, 2019

MSc Bereavement Studies students


We still accepting applications for our MSc in Loss & Bereavement (Counselling).
The course is delivered in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) and is aimed at professionals whose work brings them into contact with bereavement and loss.
For more details:

Pre-Budget Submission 2020: Dying is Everyone’s Business

Posted on: July 2nd, 2019

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) Pre-Budget Briefing, held in Buswells Hotel, Dublin. July 2019 Pictured: Sharon Foley – CEO Irish Hospice Foundation, Deirdre Shanagher – National Healthcare Mgr, Orla Keegan – Head Of Bereavement & Education, Angela Edghill – Advocacy Mgr. Photographer – Paul Sherwood

Dying is Everyone’s Business: We must count the cost and invest for the future

  • Deaths in Ireland due to increase 25% by 2030 but State not ready to meet the challenges this will bring
  • Demand for Nurses for Night Care is on the rise, yet only 8% of cost covered by the State, despite commitment to 50% funding


Tuesday 2 July 2019, Dublin –

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) says the Government needs to invest now in palliative, end-of-life care and bereavement supports and infrastructure.

At our Pre-Budget Briefing this afternoon, the country’s only charity dedicated to death, dying and bereavement called on the Government to invest in healthcare infrastructure and adequately support end-of-life and bereavement services. The CSO estimates annual deaths in the Ireland will increase to 38,000 by 2030 with 3.8m people bereaved.

Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF said: “The costs of dying, death and bereavement cannot be ignored as they affect us all. End-of-life infrastructure, such as our mortuaries, need investment. Gaps in specialist palliative care services, such as the need for a Midlands Hospice, need to be addressed. Essential services provided by NGOs, such as Nurses for Night Care, also need to be adequately funded by the state. These are not huge investments but urgently need attention.”

In addition to capital investment in healthcare infrastructure, the state needs to adequately fund end-of-life support services. The IHF Nurses for Night Care service, operated in association with the Irish Cancer Society, enables people to die at home. The service costs €3.2m annually yet receives 8% funding from the state – despite its recognition under the Palliative Care Framework 2017-2019 as a core service which should be State-funded at a rate of 50%.

The IHF also asks the Government to concentrate research and resources on bereavement, which is largely invisible in formal policies. The economic as well as the emotional and societal impacts of bereavement need to be researched – research which the IHF is offering to co-fund.

Embedding the best end-of-life and bereavement care in all care settings, investigating and responding to the cost of bereavement and long-overdue capital investment in infrastructure,  underpin all nine IHF recommendations for Budget 2020.

Key Submission Asks

  • Government to provide the stated commitment to fund 50% of the Nurses for Night Care service
  • Ring-fence capital funding in 2020 to upgrade mortuary facilities across the acute hospital sector
  • Develop a new National Policy on Palliative Care to include all elements of current policy and address policy gaps

A need to Plan Ahead

The IHF believe dying, death and bereavement are everyone’s business. Citizens have repeatedly told us they want to be able to discuss and record their wishes about end of life, and to be assured that their wishes will be respected.

The Government’s own legislation – the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (ADMA) – is a welcome development in this area, but it has not yet been brought into full effect. The IHF’s planning tool- Think Ahead– has been leading the way in this. There has been a groundswell of support for Think Ahead – largely citizen-led – culminating in a 75% increase in demand from the public for Think Ahead forms between 2018 and 2019.

Angela Edghill, Advocacy Manager said: “It’s very important this Act is brought into effect as soon as possible, particularly because it legislates for the making of an Advance Healthcare Directive.  In the meantime, it is essential the public, health and social care professionals are fully informed and supported to benefit from the new provisions within the Act.

What the Government must now do is fully resource and support the Decision Support Services.  It is evident from the increase in demand for Think Ahead forms that the public want to be able to engage on issues and express their wishes.  The Government should lead and encourage them in this.

With each death and each bereavement, there is only one chance to get it right.  Small investment now in helping the public and professionals engage in advance care and end-of-life planning will help us to get it right more and more often.  It’s a price worth paying.”  

The IHFs budget 2020 recommendations are additionally informed by the People’s Charter on Dying, Death and Bereavement. The Charter arose from the 2016 “Have Your Say” survey in which 3,000 people in Ireland expressed their views, fears, hopes and anxieties on dying, death, care and loss.

A full copy of the IHF Pre-budget submission is available here.

For more information on Have Your Say, click here.


Posted on: June 12th, 2019

Residents and staff at Moate Nursing Home officially launched their end-of-life care vision.

The project is a central part of their work with CEOL (Compassionate End of Life), a programme run by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF).  CEOL is a quality improvement programme for residential care centres (RCCs) and nursing homes across Ireland. It enables staff to deliver compassionate, person-centred end-of-life care to residents, their family members and staff. CEOL provides a framework for staff to review, reflect on and enhance the end-of-life and bereavement care they provide.

Moate, which is part of Mowlam Healthcare, began working on CEOL in April 2018 when they participated in the first of three programme workshops. It was evident from the beginning there was a very person-centred approach to care in Moate Nursing Home and CEOL presented an opportunity for staff to develop this further with an even more focussed approach to end-of-life care. 

Director of Nursing, Kay Kennedy was instrumental in ensuring CEOL was delivered in the Westmeath nursing home along with Moate CEOL coordinators Jaya Ninan and Caroline Sheehan. The entire Moate CEOL Group was keen, from the start, that the residents would be included in developing the end-of-life care vision. 

Jaya Ninan is the Clinical Nurse Manager in Moate: “We are very proud to be part of the national CEOL programme. Our CEOL group consists of a group of multi-disciplinary staff members. While we already had good end-of-life care practices in the nursing home supported by various policies and procedures, our participation in the programme has empowered us to further develop our skills to enhance our end-of life care. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Kay Kennedy and Mowlam management for being so supportive in implementing the programme. Also, I would like to express sincere gratitude to all the staff of Moate Nursing Home, the residents and relatives for being part of this journey of change.”

Kate Steele, CEOL National Development Manager “I would like to wish all the residents and staff in Moate Nursing Home the very best of luck today. To see how they have welcomed and embraced the programme is truly inspirational. The incredible work being delivered through their CEOL Group and all the staff in Moate nursing home is not only having a real impact on the quality of end-of-life care, but on all care for their residents. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Moate Nursing Home on the CEOL Programme and we look forward to working together in the future through our regional CEOL Network meetings.”

Every year over 7,500 people in Ireland die in nursing homes and residential care centres.CEOL, launched in 2017, embeds a continuous quality improvement approach in individual nursing homes and is built around the needs of the individual, with the resident always at the heart of every decision.  Good end-of-life care is about being supported to live well until you die.  

For more information about CEOL, go here.

The Irish Hospice Foundation is the only national charity dedicated to dying, death and bereavement in Ireland. 80 people die every day in Ireland and the IHF believes everyone has the right to be cared for and to die with dignity and respect in their care setting of choice. Its mission is to strive for the best end-of-life care for all. The IHF campaigns to make excellence in hospice practices, bereavement and end-of-life care a national priority and to stimulate the conversation about dying and bereavement in Ireland. The IHF receives core funding from Pobal from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government’s Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019

Rosabel’s Rooms- In partnership with the Irish Hospice Foundation

Posted on: June 8th, 2019






Rosabel’s Rooms was established by parents Suzanne McClean and Gary Monroe in memory of their beloved daughter Rosabel Monroe, who died suddenly and unexpectedly in April 2017, aged sixteen months.

Rosabel’s Rooms in collaboration with The Irish Hospice Foundation, was launched on the 5th January 2018, on what would have been Rosabel’s 2nd birthday.
The project is developing the following activities:
  1. Through the Design & Dignity Programme at the Irish Hospice Foundation, this project is facilitating the development of family-friendly bereavement suites in hospital emergency departments around Ireland, which will provide comfort and dignity for families following the loss of a loved one.
  1. The Rosabel’s Room-to-Heal fund is providing direct financial support to families, when a child dies in Ireland. The Fund is helping bereaved parents and families to take time off work, pay for funeral costs etc.
  1. Over the coming paths, this project will work to ensure required therapeutic supports are made available for individuals impacted by child loss.
Sharon Foley CEO of the IHF says: “We hope this partnership with Rosabel’s Rooms will give families sanctuary to be together in private at extremely difficult times. The essence of Design & Dignity is to convey a sense of reverence and respect for life, death and bereavement.”
For more information, email: rosabelsrooms@gmail.com or click here
For upcoming events, click here  To donate to Rosabel’s Rooms, click here

Rosabel’s Room-to-Heal Fund: Apply now

Rosabel’s Room-to-Heal Fund is providing financial support as an immediate response to the loss of a child. Click here for more information and eligibility. 
Design & Dignity is part of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) Programme is an IHF initiative to ensure that palliative, end of life and bereavement care are central to the everyday business of hospitals. To date, the Design and Dignity Project has supported 34 projects around Ireland enabling hospitals to create relaxing spacious family rooms, inpatient suites and maternity bereavement suites and upgraded mortuaries into welcoming, respectful environments. For more information, click here
CHY 6830 – Registered Charity 20013554


Posted on: May 16th, 2019

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) will host its first ever regional ‘Living with Loss’ event in Cork on Thursday 6 June, 6.30pm, in collaboration with local bereavement support services.

The free event for the public, which takes place at the Clayton Hotel in Cork City, will provide information about grief and the range supports available to bereaved people in the county.   

The event is for people bereaved through any circumstance – through illness or sudden death; who may have lost a partner, parent, child, friend or sibling. 

Former Cork hurler Dessie Fitzgerald will be the guest speaker on the evening. He will talk about the loss of his two brothers. Most recently, Dessie was invited to tell his story on the Late Late Show. 

The event will begin at 6.30pm and run until 9.30pm. Professionals who work in the area of bereavement will talk about the process of grief and the ways we can support each other. The talks will include information about the ways children grieve and how the adults in their lives can support them.  There are also opportunities for interaction and questions. 

Head of Education & Bereavement at the IHF is Orla Keegan: “Bereavement can be an isolating, lonely and confusing experience in a person’s life. The Irish Hospice Foundation has organised an annual Living with Loss event in Dublin over the past number of years. Year on year, hundreds of people have attended and the feedback has been very positive. During that time, we have  received a number of requests for similar events outside of Dublin.”

“This year, in collaboration with a number of bereavement support services in Cork, we are delighted to host our first Cork Living with Loss event. Our special thanks goes to Forde Funeral Homes who are kindly sponsoring the event.”

A number of local voluntary bereavement support services along with professional therapeutic services will be represented on the night. Refreshments will also be available and those attending will be able to visit the different organisation stands and find out more about the services they provide.

The event is free of charge and booking is not required. You can download the event flyer here

For more information about the venue please visit: www.claytonhotelcorkcity.com

Please contact Amanda at amanda.roberts@hospicefoundation.ie if you have any questions about the event.

Organisations confirmed to attend include: Anam Cara, Barnardos, Bethany Bereavement Support, CanTalk, Citizen Information Service, Coiscéim Counselling Programme, Cork Counselling Service, Cork North Community Work Department, Cork University Hospital, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Diocese of Cork & Ross, Embrace Farm, Féileacáin, FirstLight, Irish Hospice Foundation, Irish Road Victims Association, Marymount Hospice, Mercy Hospital, Pieta House, Suicide Prevention Resource Office, Support After Homicide and The Miscarriage Association.

Our special thanks goes to Forde Funeral Homes who are kindly sponsoring the event.

Final Putting The House In Order seminar coming up in Clare

Posted on: May 14th, 2019

The final seminar of County Clare’s innovative Putting the House in Order series takes place in Ennis next week.
The event, organised by the Clare Older People’s Council, takes place on Wednesday 12 June (11am-2pm) at the Buttermarket on Drumbiggle Road. It will deal head on with what you wish to happen at the end of life and includes two workshops. The first is an introductory information session covering wills, enduring power of attorney, and other legal issues delivered by local Clare solicitor Sharon Cahir.
The second workshop delivered by Rebecca Lloyd, Public Engagement Officer with the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), asks participants to ‘Think Ahead’ using the IHF’s popular Think Ahead form.
Five seminars have already been held in Ennis, Shannon, Kilrush, Ennistymon and Ogonnelloe since January with over 300 people attending. 
Rebecca says: “Planning for what happens after you die or when, for some reason, you are no longer in a position to make or describe your plans for the future is a very difficult subject to contemplate. You may not have thought about – because, mostly, here in Ireland, we don’t like to. Or, it’s something you may be thinking about a lot and do want to talk about. Either way, please join us in Ennis, there is no pressure to do or say anything – Sharon and I will try and give you as much information to help you and answer any of your questions
Patricia Anne Moore, one of the Clare Older People’s Council organisers:  “We have had very inspirational days in Ennis, Shannon, Kilrush, Ennistymon and Ogonnelloe with lots of sharing and advice for those present.  Through these seminars we want to enable participants to primarily receive good quality information about ‘putting their house in order’ and think about and discuss what would be important to them should they become ill, incapacitated or experience a medical emergency. It’s important for all of us to think about these things especially as we get older. It’s so you and those closest to you will know and understand what your wishes are. Many people enjoyed coming along and connecting with others – we are delighted with its success so far.”
The series is with thanks to financial support from the Community Foundation for Ireland, and in association with the Irish Hospice Foundation.
Admission is free but booking is essential. Phone 065 6846240 or email hmoloney@clarecoco.ie
*Please note this is primarily an information and planning session; it is not about bereavement or bereavement counselling.

Offaly Hospice Foundation’s €500k Donation “A major investment in the future development of Hospice Care in the Midlands

Posted on: May 8th, 2019

Irish Hospice Foundation Welcomes Offaly Hospice Foundation’s €500k Donation as a “A major investment in the future development of Hospice Care in the Midlands”

Offaly Hospice Foundation‘s announcement of a €500k ‘kick start’ for the building of a Level 3, Specialist Palliative Care (SPC) Inpatient Unit in the Midlands has been warmly welcomed as a progressive initiative and a major investment in the future development of Hospice Care in the Midlands by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF).

Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF commenting on last week’s announcement said ‘This is good news for the Midlands region which is one of the very few areas without a Level 3 SPC Inpatient Unit in Ireland.  The IHF has long invested in planning and advocacy for SPC services for the four Midland Counties to try to  increase development, investment and infrastructure in the region.  Most hospice services in Ireland, including the SPC Inpatient Units around the country, have come about as a partnership between voluntary hospice groups fundraising efforts and State investment in the services when built.  Offaly Hospice Foundation is to be commended for taking this vital step to progress the project.  It is our expectation that their €500k donation will attract other funds and funders and bring this long-held vision to realisation. Tullamore Lions Club is already engaged with Offaly Hospice Foundation and we hope that other local community and business organisations follow suit’.

The Midlands region is the one of the few remaining areas of the country without a Level 3 SPC Inpatient Unit.  The region is currently served by SPC Consultants and home care services and by Level 2 hospice beds in the community. A Level 3 SPC Inpatient Unit would support, develop and underpin the excellent and vital palliative care services already provided by the palliative care specialists, homecare teams and GPs in the area.  Those people in need of palliative and end-of-life care in the Midlands deserve access to the full range of services and care options already available to people in other parts of the country.