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IHF launches free toolkit for those delivering end-of-life care as COVID-19 surges

Posted on: January 20th, 2021

Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has today launched a comprehensive Toolkit for Compassionate End-of-Life Care to enable our healthcare workers deliver compassionate end-of-life care during this latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting people to die well in the circumstances now faced in health and residential care settings, is an enormous challenge. Infection control measures and strict visiting restrictions, although vital, mean the empathetic and high standards of end-of-life care that is the norm in theses settings is being impacted.

Developed in consultation with healthcare staff in acute hospitals, residential care and nursing home sectors, and those working in bereavement support and education, the Toolkit includes resources and guidance on subjects like communicating through PPE, care of the dying person, supporting the bereaved and self-care for staff.

Sharon Foley, CEO of IHF said:

“The latest surge of COVID-19 is hitting hard and our frontline healthcare workers are under incredible strain. It’s an enormously demanding time for those caring for those facing the end of their lives in healthcare settings all over Ireland but they are going to extraordinary lengths to continue to deliver compassionate care for people and their families.”

“The aim of our Toolkit is that it can be used to support them in their everyday interactions with their patients, residents and family members to provide a compassionate, person-centred approach to end-of-life care. We hope all members of staff, regardless of their role, will be able to find value in this Toolkit. It has been designed so it can be read in its entirety from start to finish, or the reader can dip in and out of sections that are most relevant to them when they need them most.”

CEO of the HSE Paul Reid has welcomed the initiative saying:

“The HSE is delighted that IHF has launched its new resource for health and social care professionals – Toolkit for Compassionate End-of-Life Care. Containing practical and helpful information on areas such as communication, family support and staff self-care it is easy to follow and navigate and an invaluable source of relevant information.”

IHF is the national charity addresses dying, death and bereavement and runs a number of programmes to support healthcare staff in issues relating to end-of-life care, planning and bereavement. Head of Healthcare Programmes at IHF is Siobán O’Brien Green:

“We are constantly listening to and responding to the needs and concerns of healthcare workers by having relevant, timely and easy to navigate information easily available when it comes to end-of-life care. It’s more important than ever before as restrictions and other measures continue to evolve. Our new Toolkit can be used by the range of staff involved in end-of-life care to inform compassionate care, good communication and support people and their families at such a difficult time. It also lists useful resources and websites for staff to refer to as part of this hugely important work.”

Download our Toolkit for Compassionate End-of-Life Care.

Media Contacts:

Lynn Murtagh, Head of Marketing & Communications, Irish Hospice Foundation lynn.murtagh@hospicefoundation.ie or 085 1052058

Irish Hospice Foundation Urges Balance on Level 5 Visiting Restrictions for Nursing Homes & Residential Care Facilities

Posted on: January 11th, 2021

11 January 2021

At Level 5 restrictions, Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) notes the need for a change in current guid-ance in relation to visiting to nursing homes and other long term residential care facilities (LTRCF) as per the HSE COVID-19 Guidance on visits to Long Term Residential Care Facilities (LTRCFs). As outlined in the guidance, to ensure the safety of residents and staff, care providers need to limit any critical and compassionate visiting to times when visiting can be effectively supported by available staff and in some cases a risk assessment will be required to ensure visits can proceed.

Sharon Foley, CEO of IHF says, “We appreciate the grave situation facing nursing homes and LTRCF and the absolute need to protect residents and staff from COVID-19. However, we also know of the absolute necessity for residents to be in regular contact with their loved ones so that quality of life and dignity is maximised as far as possible. This is even more critical as residents be-come more vulnerable and are approaching end of life, a phase which can continue for some time. We urge all nursing homes and LTRCF to remember the importance of critical and compassionate visiting and to prioritise these activities for the sake of residents and their families.”

IHF were in direct contact with NPHET in early November, urging them to look at visiting in nursing and care homes. At that time these recommendations were taken on board and more patients and residents in nursing and care facilities had access to more visits with families and loved ones during Level 3 restrictions.

During the first wave of COVID-19, IHF created their Care & Inform guides for staff and families of people in nursing and care facilities. At this time, in particular, care staff may find it useful to provide the following resources for families:

What to do when I can’t visit a loved one who is dying

What to expect when someone you care about is dying in a nursing home


Media Contacts:

Lynn Murtagh, Head of Marketing & Communications, Irish Hospice Foundation – lynn.murtagh@hospicefoundation.ie or 085 1052058.

Rebecca Kelly, Communications Officer, Irish Hospice Foundation – rebecca.kelly@hospicefoundation.ie

IHF announces grant scheme to support creativity during COVID-19

Posted on: January 7th, 2021

Seed grants 2021

7 January 2020

Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has today announced its new IHF Seed Grant Scheme to inspire and support creative responses to the themes of dying, death and bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covid-related grief and loss have had a significant effect on all ages, all counties, and all sectors leaving many of us confused and distressed. In partnership with the Creative Ireland programme, the aim of IHF Seed Grants is to support groups, organisations and individuals in exploring creative initiatives and approaches to reflect and remember.

This may take the form of starting new local art projects, or to support existing projects gain momentum – this may involve artists, crafts people or coders or may be a group or individual who has a good idea.

Sharon Foley, CEO of IHF said:

From rap to Rembrandt, death is a regular theme. Theatre, music, dance, visual arts, and crafts all offer a way to start conversations about difficult things. We know many Irish people want an opportunity to have conversations about death, dying and grief. Creative Ireland’s support enables us to make a bridge, to invite people to put these elements together for themselves, to create space, places and opportunities to talk, walk, and wonder, to begin to grow life back around loss.

Tania Banotti, Director of Creative Ireland, welcomed the launch of IHF Seed Grants, saying:

We welcome Irish Hospice Foundation’s leadership in connecting the impact creativity and artists play on wellbeing and health in normal circumstances, with the role they might take on now, in helping a national process of grief and loss. The Creative Ireland Programme is an all-of-government culture and wellbeing programme that inspires and transforms people, places and communities through creativity. We believe that creativity and culture have an important role to play in the processing of grief and we look forward to hearing more about the outcomes of Irish Hospice Foundation’s Seed Grants programme.

Awards are in the region of €500 – €1,000 per project and IHF hopes to offer between 10 and 15 awards.

Seed Grants are intended to support the work of those involved in the community, therefore a key requirement for the receipt of a grant is that the level of funding must be matched by the community group, organisation or individual either in cash or in kind.

Read more about the IHF Seed Grants scheme

Deadline for applications is Friday 29 January 2021, 5pm.

Bereavement support line Mon to Fri 10am to 1pm

Posted on: January 1st, 2021

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

Current vacancies at IHF

Posted on: January 1st, 2021

IHF urges people to make submission on Dying with Dignity bill

Posted on: January 1st, 2021

Diversity of Voices needs to be heard by the Committee on Justice

Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) is today calling for people and organisations to make submissions to the Committee on Justice on the Dying with Dignity Bill to ensure a robust and balanced debate on the matter of assisted dying.

IHF wrote to the Committee in November urging them to seek out all sides of the debate in relation to the Bill. We believe there needs to be a considered forum to thoroughly examine the proposed legislation before the Oireachtas.

Sharon Foley, CEO of IHF stated:

“Following our letter the Committee on Justice responded and requested a submission which we are now drafting. We urge the public and organisations to also make submissions to the Committee in order to ensure they hear the wide range of views. We’ll be making our submission outlining relevant case studies and international research available as well as our own learnings from our work in death, dying and bereavement over the last 34 years. Other countries such as New Zealand and Canada invested in a very thorough consultation and debate process before introducing legislation on assisted dying. We believe we can learn from their processes and other international experiences while addressing Irish cultural and societal norms.”

We believe the bill is a seismic shift in legislative terms which will impact on all areas of society. It should therefore receive the time it deserves to consider the rich and diverse evidence, views, opinions and anxieties of all the people of Ireland. It is the role of the Committee on Justice to ensure that that debate is carried out and with that in mind we would strongly urge people to make their submission by 29th January next. Email your submission to dyingwithdignity@oireachtas.ie

Find out more about the steps you need to follow to submit your submission to The Committee on Justice here

Can you help us in these unprecedented times?

Posted on: January 1st, 2021

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

You can also donate online here

#IHFSupportingYou #COVID19Ireland #WeAreAllInThisTogether

Helping children grieve during COVID-19 restrictions

Posted on: January 1st, 2021

Never forgetting those we love

Posted on: December 10th, 2020

Bereavement workshops online for 2021

Posted on: December 1st, 2020