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Two Nursing Home Ireland Awards for Sunhill Nursing Home

Posted on: December 6th, 2019

In the photo left to right: Jan Wilson, Household Staff Sunhill Nursing Home; Georgina Buffini, Regional Development Coordinator CEOL Programme; Kate Steele, National Development Manager Residential Care Settings; Rachel Malone, Activities Sunhill Nursing Home; Siobhan Carroll, Clinical Nurse Manager Sunhill Nursing Home; Tadhg Daly, CEO Nursing Homes Ireland, Marty Whelan.

Sunhill Nursing Home in county Louth picked up two awards at the recent Nursing Home Ireland Care Awards. The CEOL team won the End-of-Life Care Award, sponsored by the Irish Hospice Foundation, while Pauline Conlon was named the Carer of the Year.

CEOL at Sunhill

Led by Siobhán Carroll, Clinical Nurse Manager, the multi-disciplinary CEOL Team includes members of the care, activity and household team. They continually strive to achieve excellence in end-of-life care for their residents in Sunhill Nursing Home. They ensure their residents end-of-life care wishes are respected and they support them and their families on their journey towards end-of-life. Siobhan liaises with the GP and Specialist Palliative Care Team to ensure a peaceful and dignified death for every resident.

Sunhill joined Irish Hospice Foundation’s Journey of Change Programme in 2015 and now has 12 members in their CEOL Team. This dedicated, passionate CEOL Team holds regular review meetings following the death of each resident in which they remember the resident and reflect and review the care provided. This allows them to continue their excellent practices while also identifying potential areas for change.  

Developed by the Irish Hospice Foundation, CEOL, which stands for Compassionate End of Life, supports staff in providing the best possible end-of-life care for people living in residential care centres and enables and empowers staff to continuously review, reflect and improve the end-of-life care they provide.

Learn more about our CEOL programme here. 

Pauline Conlon

L to R: Siobhan Carroll, Clinical Nurse Manager Sunhill Nursing Home; Georgina Buffini Regional Development Coordinator CEOL Programme; Pauline Conlon Healthcare Assistant Team Lead

Located in the village of Termonfeckin, Sunhill Nursing Home is a warm and friendly place, not only to work but especially for residents. Team Lead, Pauline Conlon, is an exceptional carer. She ensures that the ‘Baltray Unit’ is family and resident orientated. A calm and social atmosphere is nurtured there on a daily basis.

Pauline, who is integral to the CEOL Team, advocates a person-centred care approach and goes above and beyond her role to ensure that residents have the best home-from-home experience while living in Sunhill. This was Pauline’s second year to be nominated for Carer of the Year – testament to the exemplary care and dedication she demonstrates in her role in caring for residents in Sunhill Nursing Home.


Make this a Christmas to Remember with a Tribute to Your Loved One

Posted on: December 3rd, 2019


The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) is asking you to support those facing death, dying & bereavement across Ireland this Christmas by donating to its Never Forgotten Appeal.

Every year, over 30,000 people in Ireland die and it’s estimated at least ten people can be bereaved by each death. This means over 300,000 people may experience the pain of loss this Christmas.

The IHF is dedicated to working with those at end of life and the bereaved. Our mission, delivered through our support, education and advocacy programmes is to strive for the best end-of-life and bereavement care, for all.

The Never Forgotten Appeal invites people to remember someone they love who has died this Christmas and support the vital work of the IHF as they help those nearing death and experiencing bereavement.

Each donation also allows people to compose a personal message in memory of their someone special which is then handwritten into the 2020 Book of Remembrance which will then be proudly displayed in the Irish Hospice Foundation library. People can donate online at www.neverforgotten.ie.

IHF CEO, Sharon Foley commented: “Nothing can prepare us for the death of a loved one. Christmas, with all those memories, can be especially raw. But, it’s through memories that we carry our loved ones with us forever.”

“Our Never Forgotten Appeal is one way you can honour a loved one who has died and at the same time make a real difference to others at the end of life or those left bereaved. All donations go towards our work which provides better care and support for those facing dying, death and bereavement all over Ireland.”

The IHF relies heavily on public donations to fund our services. Our work includes:

  • Funding Nurses for Night Care for those with illnesses other than cancer, so they can die at home (20% increase in demand for this service in 2019)
  • Supporting 40+ acute hospitals nationwide to improve end-of-life, palliative and bereavement care (Almost 50% of deaths each year occur in Irish hospitals)
  • Supporting 50+ nursing homes and residential care centres nationwide to improve end-of-life through the Compassionate End of Life (CEOL) Programme (Almost 17% of deaths each year occur in nursing homes).
  • Encouraging Irish people to prepare for death through Think Ahead (85,000+ Think Ahead forms in circulation)
  • A Hardship Fund for helping people and families with funeral costs

Go to www.neverforgotten.ie to make a vital donation in memory of the one you love this Christmas.

Upcoming Workshops on Loss & Bereavement

Posted on: December 2nd, 2019


Do you work with bereaved? In 2020, the Irish Hospice Foundation will once again host a series of Workshops on Loss and Bereavement.

These are for professionals and volunteers who are working with those who have experienced a major loss. Booking is essential.

For the full list of workshops and booking details, click here

IHF calls for urgent Government action to commence legislation to replace 1871 Lunacy Regulations

Posted on: November 28th, 2019

Thursday 28 November 2019

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) is again calling on the Government to progress vital amendments to the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (ADMA) and to then commence it as a matter of urgency.

Commenting ahead of a seminar on the ADMA being hosted (today and tomorrow) by the Decision Support Service and the HSE at University College Cork, Angela Edghill, Advocacy Manager at the IHF said: “The ADMA was drafted from a human rights perspective and informed by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is a progressive piece of legislation. We are now approaching the fourth anniversary of the passage of the Act and most of it remains inactive.  This causes confusion and uncertainty for the public and legal, health and social care professionals alike. Until the ADMA comes into effect many of our citizens continue to have their decisions mediated by the provisions of the Lunacy Regulations of 1871. This is totally unacceptable and leaves people facing very difficult situations, personally and professionally. What is needed is political and legislative action.”

Also speaking in Cork today, Deirdre Shanagher, IHF National Development Manager said. “The ADMA’s commencement will bring both choice and challenge to our citizens and to the legal, health and social care professionals as well as service providers in advance care planning and in the recognition of advance healthcare directives (AHD).  But it will provide certainty.”

“Health and social care professionals will need support if they are to engage and fully implement advance healthcare planning, including the acknowledgement of and respect for AHDs. This work is already well underway by the HSE and the Director of Decision Support Services. It will be supported by public engagement to help people understand the implications of the Act.”

When the ADMA is fully commenced a formal register of AHDs will be critical to its success. Also critical is that doctors and their patients engage in discussions about their future care –via advance care planning.  This should include the making of an AHD if that is the patient’s wish.  That can only be of benefit to all in the event that the patient is unable to speak for themselves and may help to ease the decision-making burden in a time of crisis.

The IHF encourages everyone to think about, discuss and record their preferences for end-of-life care and treatment. We call on the Government to similarly encourage, support and enable its citizens to plan ahead and to exercise their rights in this area – and give clarity and certainty to health and social care professionals – by amending and commencing the ADMA immediately. Then, we can all get on with the business of living.

Buy your 2019 IHF Christmas Cards now!

Posted on: November 27th, 2019
Our 2019 Christmas cards are now on sale!
Buy them online now right here.
We have a range of styles to suit all tastes. Our cards are also available in shops nationwide.
Thank you for supporting the Irish Hospice Foundation this festive season!

Mind The Gap: Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week

Posted on: November 22nd, 2019


Sophia Goulding Peat, age 12 (left) with Charlie McDonagh, age 12 both from Lusk, Co. Dublin and Gearoid Clancy, 11 from Cobh, Co. Cork, pictured at the launch of the ‘Mind The Gap’ creative project for Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week at the Mansion House Dublin today (Thursday 21 November).

‘Mind yourself so you can mind me’…….. This was the message from bereaved children to adults at the launch of the ‘Mind The Gap’ creative project for Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week at the Mansion House Dublin today (Thursday 21 November). Children handle grief better when the adults around them get support to deal with their own grief.

Every November, the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN) organises a series of events during the week of Universal Children’s Day to highlight bereaved children’s needs across Ireland and to ensure their voice is heard.

Today’s event, in collaboration with Barnardos Children’s Bereavement Service, saw 12 children express their experience of grief through different creative projects including drawings and paintings as well as short stories.

Barnardos Children’s Bereavement Service is a family support service for children and their families who have experienced the death of someone close to them.  They work directly with children and their families across Ireland to help them increase their capacity to support the child through the grieving process and to develop their own resilience.

Speaking today, Gina Cantillon, Project Leader with the Barnardos Children’s Bereavement Service said: “Today’s event is entitled Mind The Gap; mind yourself so you can mind me. This is the central message that the young people we work with want the adults and carers in their lives to understand – grief happens to a family, to a wider network of friends and relations, to a community, and therefore grief needs to be held and supported within those same systems that have been rocked by the loss of someone so dear.  We all need to attend to, be gentle with and mind the gaps in our own hearts and in our own lives so that we can then find the resilience we need to also support our children in their grief journey.”

Speaking at today’s event, Chairperson of the ICBN, Bríd Carroll said, “Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week is where we heighten awareness of the children who have lost parents, siblings, grandparents, close family members and friends not just in the past year but over the years. It is a week to highlight their needs both nationally and locally in our communities so that adults can remember that when death occurs in a family that ‘Children Grieve Too’”.

“This is the time of year when the evenings get darker and bereaved people withdraw to reflect on those who will be missing at Christmas time.  It is the time when grief and loss and its meaning can be to the fore. It is therefore opportune for involving the children who have suffered loss in our communities and not leaving them as the “forgotten mourners” as they often were in the past in Ireland.”

The ‘Growing up in Ireland’ study reveals that 2.2% of nine-year olds had lost a parent; 1% a sibling; and 28% had experienced the death of a grandparent. It is estimated that 4-5% of young people lose a parent by the age of 18.

The ICBN was founded in 2012 as a hub for those working with bereaved children, young people and their families. It is funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation and Túsla and supports professionals to deliver high quality accessible bereavement support; signposts families and carers to information and bereavement supports and informs the general public regarding issues involved in childhood loss.

For more information, visit www.childhoodbereavement.ie

Irish sports stars unite for Irish Hospice Foundation

Posted on: November 19th, 2019

We are delighted to announce an evening with Shane Lowry, Jack McCaffrey and Gary O’Toole hosted by Paul Kimmage in House Dublin on Monday 2nd December at 7pm.
You can also get your picture taken with the Claret Jug and the Sam Maguire too!
All proceeds will go to The Irish Hospice Foundation.
Get your tickets on Eventbrite here: https://bit.ly/2NDIt0K 

IHF Statement on revised analysis of CSO place of death statistics

Posted on: November 8th, 2019

8 November 2019 

Revised analysis of CSO place of death statistics further underlines need for co-ordinated end-of-life care support in all care settings

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has today welcomed the publication of revised analysis of place of death by the Central Statistics Office (CSO)  which sees the place of death updated and re-categorised, and includes a retrospective analysis using these categories for deaths from 2013-2016. 

Previous data analysis showed a lack of clarity on deaths in community (HSE) hospitals, private hospitals and elsewhere. Now, for the first time, we can see more accurate analysis of reported place of death, including deaths in hospices. The CSO uses death certificates to record place of death.

Welcoming the publication of the revised figures, the IHF CEO, Sharon Foley said that a clearer understanding of place of death in Ireland should help frame a better response to the needs of those facing death and bereavement in all care settings. Crucially, it allows us to project capacity requirements in various care settings and exposes current and future pressure points which need additional support.

She added: “We now have very accurate data for place of death which shows that nearly half of the 30,000 people who die each year, die in a hospital setting. Four out of ten people will die in an acute hospital. These figures have remained steady over the past number of years. The scale of this can be illustrated by the fact that almost 200,000 beds days per annum are used for patients who die – the equivalent of 535 hospital beds nationally being used on a full-time basis each year ONLY for patients who die. This would be the same capacity of a major teaching hospital such as the Mater Misericordiae in Dublin.” 

“These needs will be further exacerbated by an estimated 23% increase in the number of deaths in Ireland between 2019 and 2031 as a result of an ageing, and growing population. Hospitals need to be forward-thinking, and build the resources and quality improvement supports now.”

The IHF has long supported hospital leadership in reaching the understanding that dying is part of their business through its Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) programme. The scale of the challenges they face now, and in the future, means there must be swift and effective action from Government, the HSE and hospital management to address priority needs including:

  • Increasing resources for specialist palliative care (SPC) in the acute hospital setting to ensure appropriate care for all patients with SPC needs.
  • Embedding and strengthening initiatives such as the HFH programme which enables and supports staff in providing high-quality care at end of life 
  • Urgently and consistently providing essential skills training and supports for staff caring for patients at end of life, including Final Journeys acute hospital staff training. 
  • Upgrading end-of-life hospital infrastructure such as family rooms and mortuaries. These should reflect excellence in care for those at end of life and respect for the deceased and the bereaved. 

The IHF notes with concern the lower percentage of deaths at home in the reclassified data, averaging around 23% previously believed to be between 25% and 26%. In line with Sláintecare and a number of other state policies, this shows more investment in home care – including SPC homecare, primary care and community supports – is required to enable people to remain at home as they near end of life.  

The percentage of deaths in hospices has risen year-on-year, from 6.4% of annual deaths in 2013 to 8.1% in 2017, reflecting a welcome addition of new in-patient hospices. This illustrates the need for additional and ongoing investment in SPC to build on the welcome €10 million promised in Budget 2020 and the funding needs for the sector identified in Sláintecare, Adult Palliative Care Services: Model of Care for Ireland and National Palliative Care Services: Three Year Development Framework (2017-2019).

Rest in peace, Gay.

Posted on: November 4th, 2019

We are very saddened to learn of the death of Gay Byrne earlier today.

Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

This is Gay’s contribution to our Thank You book in 2011. Thank you, Gay.

#gaybo #rip #endofanera

National Consultation: Framework for ADULT Bereavement Care

Posted on: November 4th, 2019

The ‘Enhancing Adult Bereavement Care across Ireland’ report was published in 20181and identified a common set of core concerns among those who encounter bereaved people as part of their work. The lack of a common framework for bereavement care in Ireland was identified as a priority area for attention by the report’s project advisory committee (PAC)2.


After a national meeting with bereavement stakeholders (National Bereavement Forum 2018), a short term project committee was set up in September 2018 to develop a framework. The committee members were from organisations represented at the Forum and included representatives from throughout the country and all levels of service provision in both the public and voluntary sectors3.


This has been a collaborative process which has been project managed by the Irish Hospice Foundation (supported by the Health Service Executive). 


The framework will be finalised through this consultation process.


This framework places the needs of bereaved people at the centre,and sets out to clarify the appropriate support/services and knowledge/skills required to meet basic through to complex bereavement needs.


Who should complete this survey?


Organisations and individuals who provide bereavement care as the main part of their role, a substantial part of their role or a minor part of their role. This may include:


  • Those who meet people who are bereaved in their day-to-day work(e.g. General Practitioners, Citizen Information Service, Department of Social Protection etc.)


  • Those who provide direct bereavement supportto identify and respond appropriately to adults who have experienced a loss (ranging from e.g. from information, group or individual support, counselling to mental health supports).


  • A wide range of professionals, for example:




       Counsellors/ Psychiatrists/ Psychologists/ Psychotherapists

       Emergency responders

       Funeral directors/staff

       Hospitals/ Hospices/ Nursing Home staff

       Information Service staff/volunteers (e.g. Citizen Information Services)

       Nursing/ Healthcare Assistants / Medicine/ GP’s

       Social workers

       State departments – mental health, social protection etc.

       Volunteers and staff providing direct and indirect support to those who are bereaved


Please read the GUIDE describing this framework prior to completing the survey.  




Please feel free to circulate this website link to any individual or organisation that you feel would be interested in taking part in this national consultation.

Consultation open until Saturday, 30th November 2019

If any questions please contact Amanda at amanda.roberts@hospicefoundation.ie



2Project Advisory Committee 2018 (consisted of organisations represented at the Forum 2018): Barretstown, Bethany Bereavement Support Service, FirstLight, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Pieta House, The Irish Hospice Foundation.

3Project Advisory Committee 2019: Barretstown, Bethany Bereavement Support, Citizen Information Service, Department of Health (Mental Health), Feileacain, FirstLight, Galway University Hospitals, HSE (Mental Health), MOCT Consultancy and Training, Pieta House, St Francis Hospice, Trinity College Dublin, The Irish Hospice Foundation.