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Bereavement support line Mon to Fri 10am to 1pm

Posted on: September 26th, 2020

Many people have experienced and will experience the death of someone they love during the COVID-19 pandemic. It may have been a COVID-related death or a death from other causes. People may also be finding a previous bereavement more difficult at this time.

While we may be seeing reductions in the number of deaths connected to COVID-19, we know that people’s pain and grief does not diminish as quickly. 

In the face of such loss and trauma, the Irish Hospice Foundation Bereavement Support Line, in partnership with the HSE, has been launched to provide connection, comfort and support, in these exceptional times.

COVID-19 restrictions have changed the traditional ways we mark our grief. For the moment, it is not possible to come together like we did traditionally. This means many people are facing bereavement in isolation.

What is the IHF Bereavement Support line?

It is a national freephone service 1800 80 70 77 which will be available from 10am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.

  • We aim to provide a confidential space for people to speak about their experience or to ask questions relating to the death of someone during the COVID-19 pandemic or a previous bereavement that is more difficult at this time
  • We will listen to what a person says about what has happened
  • We will do our best to provide comfort and emotional support
  • We will provide any information that might help the caller, including information on practical supports.
  • We will provide support for employers or professionals who want to inform the care their organisation can offer to bereaved colleagues


The service is confidential. What you tell us will not be shared except in certain circumstances where, for safeguarding reasons, we may need to share your information with the emergency services. On the call, we might ask your first name, because it’s a natural question to ask in a conversation, but you don’t have to tell us if you prefer not to.

Further Information

Visit our FAQ section here

Can you help spread the word?

We would like as many people as possible in Ireland to know about this new free service. We have prepared a Bereavement Support Line information pack Please feel free to view/download/print out or forward this to anyone who may need it. Thank you.

The Irish Hospice Foundation is the national charity dedicated to death, dying and bereavement. For over 30 years, we have been working towards the best end-of-life and bereavement care, for all in Ireland. Bereavement affects us all and up to 300,000 Irish people can be bereaved each year. We offer an excellent source of information and services in bereavement as well as high-quality training for professionals and volunteers.

In response to COVID-19, we have set up our new Care & Inform hub on the Irish Hospice Foundation website which includes a new series of resources on grief and loss to support those who are bereaved in these exceptional times.

Please help the Irish Hospice Foundation to continue to support those facing end of life at this unprecedented time of need. Text IHF to 50300 to donate €4. Text costs €4. The Irish Hospice Foundation will receive a minimum of €3.60.
Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278

How do we talk about death right now?

Posted on: September 25th, 2020

This week, to celebrate Positive Ageing Week we are launching our ‘Conversations over a Cuppa‘ series of resources to help you start talking with your nearest and dearest.

Conversations over a Cuppa is something we would like to encourage in every household in Ireland. Especially at the moment when death and illness feel closer to us and maybe we find ourselves thinking about it more often.

We hope it won’t happen to us, or those we love. Yet, the experiences of illness, death and dying are all around us. At any time, any one of us, our families or friends could be affected. It’s not a choice; it’s something that happens.

Conversations over a Cuppa is a series of four helpful and practical guides to support and encourage you to plan ahead, talk with others and offer practical support to those facing serious illness and end of life.

Read the first one here

Niamh Fitzpatrick launches book on grief and loss

Posted on: September 24th, 2020

niamh fitzpatrick book grief and loss

On 14th March 2017, Niamh Fitzpatrick’s life fell apart. Her beloved sister Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was killed in the crash of Rescue 116 off the coast of Mayo in the early hours of the morning. A psychologist for nearly thirty years, Niamh was forced to deal with the incomprehensible grief which followed, grief that she had helped clients through for years. In her new book ‘Tell Me the Truth About Loss’, Niamh writes with beautiful honesty about how she navigated her way through the initial shock, and how she continues to manage that loss to this day.

Bereavement is not the only loss which Niamh has suffered. In ‘Tell Me the Truth About Loss’ she also writes about her marriage breakdown shortly after Dara’s death, as well as how she coped with the grief related to her struggles with fertility. She interlaces her personal experience with advice for readers, making for a powerful and important read.

Drawing on everything she learned, first to survive and then, in time, to begin to thrive, ‘Tell Me the Truth about Loss’ is a psychologist’s journey through loss, grief and the worst of times, while finding hope along the way. A beautiful book for when life isn’t what you expect it to be.

A donation from the proceeds of this book will go to Irish Hospice Foundation.

Order from Easons.

Niamh spoke with Ryan Tubridy about her new book on The Late Late Show on Friday September 25th

Watch the interview here

COVID-19 is still with us: We must invest in the future of end-of-life and bereavement care

Posted on: September 11th, 2020

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Pre-Budget Submission 2021

  • Irish Hospice Foundation renews call for whole-of-Government strategy on end-of-life and bereavement care
  • Increase in numbers dying at home, more investment needed in this area in wake of COVID-19

Ahead of Budget 2021 next month, Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has renewed its call for a whole-of-government strategy for end-of-life and bereavement care in Ireland.

In its Pre-Budget 2021 Submission, published today, Ireland’s charity dedicated to death, dying and bereavement is asking the State to invest in healthcare infrastructure and adequately support end-of-life and bereavement services to ensure we, as a nation, respond correctly and compassionately to the issues that have arisen recently in the care of the dying and bereaved.

Since March, approxminately 16,500 people have died, with over 1700 of these COVID related. Continuing visiting restrictions and infection control measures across healthcare settings and the limit on numbers attending funerals are impacting on those receiving and delivering end-of-life care as well as on the grieving process for families, their extended social circles and healthcare workers.

Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF said:

“We are still in the grip of COVID-19. The necessary national response has been – and is still – urgent. However, now that we are coming to live with COVID, we must meet the challenges presented by dying, death and bereavement in the wake of this pandemic. We have heard the distressing stories of how people were not able to visit with their relatives as they died in the past number of months.”

“No time can be lost in planning how we respond to this experience. The recommendations in our submission are practical steps to secure a shared future which takes into account the reality of our common humanity, mortality, care and grief.”

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 seven IHF recommendations for Budget 2021 which were sent to Government earlier this summer.

They are:

  • Develop a whole-of-Government Strategy on End-of-Life Care
  • Renew the National dialogue on death, dying and bereavement

  • Plan Community Supports and Education on Bereavement
  • Establish a dedicated Programme of Work to improve end-of-life and palliative care in Nursing Homes

  • Enable people to die at home or place of preference

  • Facilitate dialogue and planning for End of Life

  • Introduce a new National Mortuaries Programme

Dying at Home

Demand for Nurses for Night Care (IHF funded) has risen over the past six months as more families dealing with the imminent death of a loved one at home needed supports during the night. The free national service allows people with non-cancer related illnesses to spend their final days at home. This year additional funding was provided for this vital service. However, the long-term commitment by the State to fund 50% of the service (as outlined in the HSE Palliative Care Framework) is still not in place. The total cost of the service is €3.2 million and a commitment of 50% funding of €1.6m is well overdue.

Most adults in Ireland say they want to die at home. It’s a simple vision; yet, anecdotal and scientific evidence suggests it is becoming rarer and harder to achieve. COVID-19 has strengthened the IHF belief that more can and should be done to enable people live and die at home. As a result, the organisation is also asking for government commitment to develop a statutory home care scheme to enable more people to remain at home towards the end-of-life, regardless of whether there is a family carer(s) in place. The provision of a statutory home care scheme, it says, should be considered essential post-COVID.

Nursing Homes

COVID-19 has also highlighted other areas of end-of-life and bereavement need – primarily in the community and generalist palliative care settings, such as residential care. At the time of writing, 56% of deaths from COVID-19 are in nursing homes.

IHF welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the recent COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel review. One of its recommendations included the development of a joint HSE / IHF collaborative national programme on palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care for the nursing home sector that engages all stakeholders and improves quality of care across the sector.

Head of Healthcare Programmes at IHF Siobán O’Brien Green said:

“This has been an incredibly distressing time for residents, families and staff in nursing homes and residential care settings. This is an experience that should not be repeated. We here at IHF are very willing to contribute our experience and expertise in the development of a dedicated national and sustained programme for the nursing home sector, which is now imperative. We urge Government to progress and invest in this initiative, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.”

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

Sign up for this week’s webinar

Posted on: September 10th, 2020

Can you help us in these unprecedented times?

Posted on: September 6th, 2020
We want to continue supporting those facing end of life and bereavement at this unprecedented time of need, as well as providing guidance and advice for health and social care workers in these exceptional times.
Please help Irish Hospice Foundation to continue with this valuable work by texting IHF to 50300 to donate €4.
Text costs €4. Irish Hospice Foundation will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278
#IHFSupportingYou #COVID19Ireland #WeAreAllInThisTogether

Team Morgan take on ‘toughest foot race on earth’ for charity

Posted on: September 2nd, 2020

Hugh Morgan Paddy Hamilton Marathon des Sables 2021

CEO of Morgan Fuels, Hugh Morgan, is well known for running marathons around the world. In 2021 he is taking on his biggest challenge to date, known as the toughest foot race on earth. This challenge is to raise money for two charities – ourselves, Irish Hospice Foundation and NI Hospice.

In April 2021, Hugh along with friend and well-known marathon runner Paddy Hamilton will be taking part in the legendary Marathon Des Sables, a six day ultra-marathon. They will run 156 miles in the Sahara desert at a time of year when the temperature can exceed 50 degrees Celsius, all the while carrying their own food and water in a 15kg back pack and sleeping in a tent when they can, over the six day challenge.

Team Morgan has taken on this gruelling challenge to raise a target of £100,000 for the NI Hospice and Irish Hospice Foundation, two charities that support those facing dying, death and bereavement throughout the island of Ireland.

Helen McVeigh, Director of Fundraising with Irish Hospice Foundation said:

“We are delighted to be chosen as one of beneficiaries for the amazing challenge that Hugh and Paddy will take on next year. We wish them the very best of luck with their training and fundraising. The money raised will make a real difference in supporting people facing death and bereavement in Ireland. Almost 90% of Irish Hospice Foundation funding comes directly from the public which means we couldn’t do what we do without the kind support of people like Hugh and Paddy”.

Despite the difficult training regime and preparations needed ahead of the ultra marathon, Team Morgan are focused on the end results to help raise the vital funds for charities such as the Northern Ireland Hospice. Their Chief Executive, Heather Weir has said:

“Hugh and Paddy’s marathon is an amazing fundraising effort. I am always amazed at the human spirit and our ability to push ourselves to the limit. Every day at Hospice we also see this strength of spirit in our patients and families. We are delighted that Hugh, Paddy and Morgan Fuels are highlighting the compassionate work of Hospice and supporting our much-needed fundraising efforts”.

CEO of Morgan Fuels, Hugh Morgan has said:

“The challenge that Paddy and I are facing in the training and preparation for this run across the Sahara Desert is only a fraction of the challenge that the nurses and doctors face each morning as they try to care for their patients who are facing the ultimate challenge as they fight for their life. I encourage everybody to get involved in this fundraising event so we can raise as much as possible for both charities.”

Our overall goal is to help those supporting people in need. With the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, charities have suffered huge impacts, with fundraising events around the globe cancelled. This is our way of helping two worthy charities as they work through challenges to continue supporting those in need.

Team Morgan is all set and ready to go! If you want to show your support for Hugh and Paddy, you can do so on their iDonate page

IHF Statement on COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel Report

Posted on: July 21st, 2020

Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) welcomes the publication today (Wednesday 19 August 2020) of the COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel Report. IHF made a submission as part of the consultation process for the Report and were delighted to present as part of the ‘Advocacy and End-of-Life thematic engagement’ to the Expert Panel.

We particularly welcome the Expert Panel’s recommendation for the initiation of a joint HSE-IHF collaborative national programme on palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care for the nursing home sector that engages all stakeholders and improves quality of care across the sector. 

This initiative could be established along the same lines as our joint HSE-IHF Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme, launched nationally in 2017. IHF is very willing to contribute our experience and expertise in the development and provision of such a programme.

IHF currently supports and provides a multidisciplinary programme into nursing homes and residential care settings. The aim of this programme, called Compassionate End of Life (CEOL), is to promote a quality improvement approach to dying, death and bereavement and includes staff workshops and ongoing training via accredited CEOL training networks with specific training inputs on palliative care. IHF has been running this programme in nursing homes for seven years, with participation from approximately 160 nursing homes.

This has been an incredibly distressing time for residents, families and staff. The impact of visiting restrictions and infection control measures, as an outcome of COVID-19, on families and staff also need to be considered. For those who were unable to be with a loved one as they died, this could have created a lasting memory of distress, both for families and staff and may be impacting on their grief. 

We all must learn from the challenges and experiences of end-of-life care during the COVID-19 crisis. This is an experience that must not be repeated and be actively planned for as part of any preparation for further waves of COVID-19 infection as well as for the further development of the nursing home sector. IHF welcomes this timely and important Report and we look forward to working with the Department of Health and other key stakeholders in progressing the recommendations within the Report 

Read the full COVID-19 Nursing Homes Expert Panel Report here.

Irish Hospice Foundation has also developed a series of resources for healthcare workers, focused on delivering care during COVID-19 as part of our Care & Inform series

Buy tickets online for our Summer Raffle 2020

Posted on: July 20th, 2020

You can now buy tickets online for IHF Summer Raffle 2020

‘Songs for Leo’ in aid of Rosabel’s Rooms

Posted on: July 20th, 2020

sharon shannon a thing called love songs for leo
Sharon Shannon has announced the release of ‘A Thing Called Love: Songs for Leo’, a beautiful collection of music to mark the passing of her partner Leo Healy in 2008. ‘Songs for Leo’ was recorded in 2008 when Leo died suddenly of a heart attack aged 46. During the weeks following, Sharon invited friends and musical colleagues into the studio to record an album of songs that were special to her. ‘Songs for Leo’ was intended as a source of comfort for herself and the Healy family and was never released commercially. Just one hundred copies were printed at the time and given to friends and family.

In light of Covid-19, Sharon decided that the album should be heard by everyone, especially those affected by coronavirus. Songs For Leo is available to buy in our shop. It is also available on all usual digital outlets. All proceeds will go to Rosabel’s Rooms, a charity close to Sharon’s heart and of which she has recently become ambassador.

Rosabel’s Rooms, in partnership with Irish Hospice Foundation, was established in memory of Rosabel Monroe, who died suddenly and unexpectedly aged 16 months in April 2017. Rosabel was the daughter of close friends of Sharon’s, Suzanne McClean and Gary Monroe. The charity aims to provide direct financial and therapeutic support to bereaved parents and families around Ireland.

Both Sharon and Suzanne spoke about the album on the Ray Darcy show recently. Listen back here

An ongoing project, Songs for Rosabel, a compilation of Irish artists, will be released on Rosabel’s fifth birthday next January.