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Bealtaine 2019: Tae, cáca agus comhrá bás

Posted on: April 17th, 2019

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) in partnership with Creative Life at the Mercer Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA), St James’s Hospital will be serving up tea, cake and conversations of death at the Bealtaine Festival next month.
Comhrá Bás, Cáca agus Cupán will be hosted at MISA, St. James’s Hospital on Thursday 9 May from 12-2pm as part of the Age & Opportunity Bealtaine Festival which celebrates arts and creativity as we age.
Open to the public, the IHF is encouraging people to come along; to drink tea, eat cake and take some time to think, talk and tell each other what really matters to us at the end of life.
Rebecca Lloyd is Public Engagement Officer with the IHF. She says: “Talking about death and dying is rarely easy but when we consider that whatever stage of life we are at, death is usually with us in one way or another – it is perhaps something we should think about more often. Thinking and talking together in a safe space about death is an important and often overlooked part of a healthy society. Talking gives us opportunity to share our wisdom and our worries, and perhaps do some planning for our individual and collective futures.”
This is a free event. Spaces are limited – booking required. Reserve your place here


New website to support families grieving the loss of a baby

Posted on: April 15th, 2019

Riona Cotter, HSE Programme Manager, Implementation Group for the National Standards for Bereavement Care Following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death; Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, Consultant Obstetrician at Cork University Maternity Hospital and Principal Investigator at INFANT

INFANT Centre at University College Cork, in partnership with the Irish Hospice Foundation, today launched pregnancyandinfantloss.ie, a first of its kind website for Ireland.
A valuable resource for parents who experience pregnancy loss or perinatal death, the website provides accurate and accessible information on a sensitive and often stigmatised subject, shares the latest research into the causes of baby loss, promotes emotional well-being, and offers details on how to access the appropriate support services.
“The website is a step forward in our commitment to consistent quality care for parents, as well as education and support for maternity staff while raising awareness of pregnancy loss and recognising its wide impact,” said Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, Consultant Obstetrician at Cork University Maternity Hospital and Principal Investigator at INFANT, Ireland’s only dedicated perinatal research centre.
Dr O’Donoghue and her team at INFANT, UCC, are leading investigations into the causes of pregnancy loss and perinatal death.
Supported by funding from the Irish Hospice Foundation, the website is an initiative of the Implementation Group for the National Standards for Bereavement Care Following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death. The programme of implementation of the Standards was led by Dr O’Donoghue and HSE Programme Manager Riona Cotter.
The Standards, launched in August 2016, defined the care parents and families should receive following a pregnancy loss or perinatal death in all Irish maternity hospitals.
“This is an example of the excellent resources available through the INFANT centre at UCC that have a real-world impact and will make a difference to grieving parents and families,” commented INFANT Director, Professor Geraldine Boylan.
Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Sharon Foley acknowledged the impact that pregnancy loss and infant death has on families in Ireland.
“The IHF is very proud to support the new national pregnancy loss website. The loss of a child is devastating to any parent. Grieving parents should be able to access sensitive and consistent bereavement care at every stage of their journey and in every location throughout Ireland. Maternity hospitals play a vital role in supporting parents whose child dies following pregnancy and post birth. It is vital we support staff with tools and information which will equip them to give this bereavement care to parents. This new website will play a major role, I believe, in providing vital information to parents and staff following pregnancy and perinatal death in our hospitals.”
Pregnancy loss is the most common complication of pregnancy.  The end of a pregnancy or the death of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal and infant death can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on the woman, her partner, her other children and her extended family.

Save the Date: FORUM 2019.

Posted on: April 10th, 2019


We are pleased to announce that our major conference – FORUM 2019 – will be held on Thursday 24th October 2019 in the Hibernia Conference Centre in Dublin Castle.  Online booking will be open on Wednesday 24th April.
This year’s theme is “Dying is everyone’s business” and we are thrilled that Dr. Kathryn Mannix, author of the best-selling book “With the End in Mind” has agreed to give our keynote address. 
As at previous Forum gatherings, there will be an exciting panel discussion, questions and answers from the audience, as well as workshops which will include developments in bereavement, exploring the key questions for healthcare arising from the Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act 2015 (ADMA), funerals past and present, nursing home issues and the ever popular (and newly-named) Café Conversation, Bás, Cáca agus Cupán Tae – (Death, cake and a cup of tea) – and much more!
We very much look forward to welcoming you to FORUM 2019.

C’mon the Camino this September!

Posted on: April 8th, 2019


Karl Henry wants you to make every step count for end-of-life and bereavement care this September by walking the Camino de Santiago in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF).
The 2019 IHF Camino takes place from 15th-21st September. This year, participants will be embarking on The Finisterre Camino (118km) – five days of walking through the beautiful coastline and unspoilt landscape of Galicia in Spain. The Finisterre Camino is the only route that begins in the city of Santiago de Compostela and the goal of the journey is the legendary Cape Finisterre, once believed to be the world’s most westerly point.
Speaking at the recent Camino photo call, the fitness expert, radio/ TV broadcaster and author said: “I am delighted to be an ambassador for the IHF’s Camino Challenge this year. Walking the Camino is a wonderful way for anyone to enhance their personal fitness and wellness – and to really enjoy themselves while doing it! Also, just by taking part, you support the great work the IHF does in supporting those facing end of life and bereavement.”
The IHF 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 and bereavement care for all.
Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF, was among the participants on the 2018 IHF Camino. Speaking today, she said: “By joining us on the IHF Camino, you will be embarking on a personal challenge but through our own efforts, you will also be supporting people nationwide who are facing death and bereavement. Our vision at the IHF is that no one should face these difficult times without the care and support they need.”
“I had such a wonderful experience last year. There was plenty of time for chats and plenty of time for reflection. Everyone is on their own journey for their own reasons -their own challenges and milestones. The Camino welcomes all. I would tell anyone thinking of doing it to sign up now – you won’t regret it.”
If you want more information about taking on the IHF Camino go here or contact Louise today: louise.mccarron@hospicefoundation.ie or 01 679 3188.

Hand in Hand with Temple Street

Posted on: March 29th, 2019

Dr Fiona McElligott with Sharon Foley, IHF CEO

Dr Fiona McElligott, a consultant paediatrician with a special interest in Palliative Care has started her new role in Temple Street Children’s University Hospital. The IHF are funding the first year of her contract.

Sharon Foley, IHF CEO said “This is a positive development for children’s palliative care in Ireland. We know that Fiona will have a big impact in palliative medicine. She will be a strong advocate for children and families facing end-of-life care. We look forward to working with her and wish her well in her new post.”

Dr McElligott joins Temple Street from the NHS where she worked in palliative care with the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, Sheffield Children’s Hospital and also with the UK Hospice movement. In Ireland, Dr McElligott will also be working with parents expecting children with life limiting conditions in the Rotunda Hospital.

Commenting on her appointment Dr McElligott said “I look forward to working with my new colleagues in Temple Street. My goal is to help enhance already fantastic levels of care with a dedicated palliative care service. This will be part of a holistic approach to the care of children with life limiting conditions. In particular it will seek to improve quality of life through the relief of distressing symptoms.”
She went on to say “The IHF have and continue to play an essential role in the advancement of palliative care medicine in Ireland. Their support and funding through the Care for Children campaign have given real momentum to the provision of specialist children’s medical and nursing care. It is helping families with seriously ill children.”

Lucy, a mother who sadly lost her little son Ronan, availed of this programme and will never forget the difference it made: “The Care for Children Campaign was so helpful. It built me up and gave me the confidence to be able to care for my son when I felt ready to fold.”

Unique impact of Design & Dignity programme highlighted in new report

Posted on: March 26th, 2019

26th March 2019. Mary Lovegrove (Project Manager Design & Dignity), Gillian Hegarty (HSE Estates), Michael O’Reilly (Former Chair of the Irish Hospice Foundation), Alice Anderson (Irish Hospice Foundation), Ronan Rose Roberts (Architect), Sharon Foley (CEO Irish Hospice Foundation) and John Browner (HSE Estates) at the official launch of the Evaluation of the Design & Dignity programme in Dublin today.
Photo: Justin Farrelly.

The unique impact of the Design & Dignity programme on end-of-life and bereavement care in Irish hospitals has been highlighted in a new report launched today (Tuesday 26 March) at the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland in Dublin.
The research carried out by a team from the School of Nursing and Midwifery in University College Cork (UCC) and commissioned through the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care, is the first review of the impact of the joint Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and HSE Estates programme.
The aim of Design & Dignity, which has provided funding to over 40 projects across Ireland so far, is to support the improvement of end-of-life and bereavement care in Irish hospitals through design excellence and evidence-based healthcare design. The findings of the Evaluation of the Design & Dignity Programme Report, which looks at Round One and Two Design & Dignity projects, show the significant positive impact it has achieved for patients, families and hospital staff alike across Ireland.
Speaking at today’s launch, CEO of the IHF Sharon Foley commented, “The vision of Design & Dignity is that every adult, paediatric and maternity hospital in Ireland has warm and welcoming spaces to enable dignity and respect for patients and families facing dying, death and bereavement. This flagship project is significantly shaping the overall culture of end-of-life care in Irish hospitals and it is truly wonderful to see the level of pride that staff feel having played a vital role in bringing their Design & Dignity projects to fruition.”
Conceived and launched in 2008, Design and Dignity was developed by the IHF as part of its Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) programme, which works to improve all aspects of end-of-life and bereavement care in Irish hospitals. Design & Dignity specifically deals with the built environment and is a partnership programme with HSE Estates to provide quiet and peaceful places for family members and friends to avail of when someone close to them is dying. The programme funds a range of projects, provides architectural support and advice and design resources.
John Browner, Assistant National Director with HSE Estates said: “All too often the focus of capital development and investment in healthcare has been on the provision of bed numbers and the expansion and improvement of clinical areas. The introduction and roll out of the Design & Dignity initiative and concept is challenging us to ensure that end-of-life care takes centre stage in the projects delivered by the initiative. We aim to continue to provide much needed private, respectful, dignified and comfortable spaces for patients and families within the wider hospital environment, during difficult times.”
The UCC report is the output of an independent review of the impact of 18 Design & Dignity spaces, created from first two rounds of the Grants scheme funding from 2010-14. Researchers conducted focus group analysis with healthcare and support staff, interviews with bereaved relatives and collated data from real-time comment cards to provide the evidential basis of the report. The evaluation had two main objectives 1) to assess the impact of design from the perspectives of patients, families and staff and 2) to determine the likely factors contributing to the successful completion and maintenance of Design & Dignity spaces.

Key Findings

  • The Design & Dignity Programme spaces have provided an oasis of calm for families at difficult times in their lives allowing them to remain in close proximity to their loved ones, within the hospital setting.
  • Design & Dignity projects were described as symbolic of compassion and demonstrated the organisation valued the experience of those bereaved and grieving.
  • By providing these forms of spaces, hospitals sent out a clear message to their staff and patients that end-of-life care matters.
  • The facilities provided staff with a dignified and private environment in which they could engage in caring and compassionate interactions with family members.
  • These facilities impact on the culture of care within hospitals and are an important aspect of acute care.
  • Being able to provide appropriate end-of-life supports to families instilled great pride in staff.

Key Recommendations

  • D&D facilities should be the norm, not a luxury with a family room on every acute care ward
  • Such facilities should be included in all new builds as a matter of course
  • The facility interiors and fixtures should be finished to high quality standards, future proofed and have a non-clinical aesthetic
  • The infrastructure improvements need to be matched by investment in staff education programmes
Read the full report here.

Staff and Relative’s Perspectives

A staff member who was involved in the refurbishment of their hospital’s mortuary is quoted in the report as saying: ‘When I’m talking about the D&D projects that I’ve been involved in I would often describe them as the things that I’m most proud of in my career … I get a sense of pride every time I bring a group into the mortuary.
Another staff member commented on the benefits of the rooms for families: ‘To have a place rather than leaving them on a corridor to wait for a consultant or – you can bring them in here for them to let their grief out, let their tears out… And there is no pressure on them – they can stay in the room for as long as they want.’
For families, a calm space in an emotionally charged situation was a prime benefit:

It was like an oasis of calm to be honest. In the middle of these emotions and sickness, doctors and nurses, which is all an integral part of the day… here is this place that you could just close the door and kind of say “oh peace”.  Relative

“I think it was just a space that allowed us to kind of centre ourselves or to take a breath and just you know over time as well like ourselves, we’ll come to terms with the situation.” Relative

The Future of Design & Dignity

In addition to the launch of the UCC report, the IHF and HSE Estates also announced the next ten projects to be funded in Round Four of the Grants Scheme. These projects cover a variety of different facilities from emergency room bereavement suites to Intensive Care Unit family rooms. The hospitals receiving the grants are University Hospital Limerick, Beaumont, the Mater and Connolly hospitals in Dublin, Wexford General Hospital, Cavan General Hospital and the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.

Support our Summer Raffle 2019 and help more people die at home

Posted on: March 25th, 2019

Irish Hospice Foundation welcomes further HSE support for end-of-life care in Irish hospitals

Posted on: March 7th, 2019

The HSE’s creation of six new hospital end-of-life care coordinator post and funding for the training of 90 Final Journeys facilitators has been welcomed by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) today (Thursday 7 March).
End-of-life care coordinators and the Final Journeys training programme are two key components of the IHF’s Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) programme, which has been working to support acute hospitals to improve end-of-life care since 2007.
The HFH programme formally partnered with the HSE in 2017 with the objective of all Irish acute hospitals having a dedicated end-of-life care committee and coordinators in place to improve the provision of resources and support for patients and families at end of life.
Approximately 12,000 people die annually in Ireland’s acute hospitals where seven end-of-life coordinators currently work.
Commenting on the news, HFH Outreach Officer, Joanne Brennan, said “This is exciting news. The investment in six additional coordinator posts is another welcome step by the HSE towards a comprehensive and consistent approach to end- of-life in our hospitals.”
“Approximately 10% of all acute hospital daily activity is associated with care across the last year of life. The HFH programme, which will be providing induction support for these new posts, will continue to advocate that every hospital in Ireland has the resources to ensure end-of-life care gets the focus and attention it deserves”.
For more information about the IHF’s Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme, click here.
The Hospitals that will receive the six additional End-of-Life Care coordinators are:
Tullamore General Hospital 
Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital 
Waterford University Hospital 
University College Hospital, Galway 
Beaumont Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes hospital, Drogheda
St. Vincent’s University Hospital 

Postgraduate Courses: Apply Now!

Posted on: March 7th, 2019

MSc Bereavement Studies students


We currently offer two part time postgraduate courses in Bereavement and Loss.
Our courses are delivered in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) and aimed at professionals whose work brings them into contact with bereavement and loss.
Applications are open now and will be accepted until May 2019.

Penultimate Putting the house in order seminar coming up in Clare

Posted on: February 14th, 2019


The penultimate seminar of County Clare’s innovative Putting the House in Order series takes place in Ennistymon next week.
The event, organised by the Clare Older People’s Council, takes place on Wednesday 10 April (11am-2pm) at the Courthouse Gallery. 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.
Three seminars have already been held in Ennis, Shannon and Kilrush with over 170 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 Shannon, 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 had very inspirational days in Ennis, Shannon and Kilrush 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 for the events 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.

Putting The House in Order Series: remaining dates:

  • April        10th Courthouse Gallery, ENNISTYMON
  • May         8th  Village Hall, OGONNELLOE