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New IHF survey: Majority of Irish people believe we need to rethink how we deal with death and grief

Posted on: May 20th, 2020


– New Irish Hospice Foundation survey also shows 89% say being together with extended family and friends is a key part of grieving porocess.

– Indepth policy document on dying, death and bereavement presented to political parties as government formation talks continue.

Wednesday 20 May, 2020
The Irish Hospice Foundation is today publishing a survey of Irish people’s attitudes around death and bereavement which shows a majority of people believe the current COVID-19 pandemic has made us rethink how we deal with dying, death and bereavement.

The survey, conducted by B&A for the Foundation shows:

  • 68% agree the current pandemic has made Irish Society rethink the way it deals with death and bereavement
  • 10% think we talk too much about death, while 34% think we don’t talk about it enough
  • 89% say that being together with extended family and friends is a key part of the grieving process
  • 55% of people say they struggle to know what to say to someone who is bereaved or to know how to support them (this rises to 77% among those under 34 years of age)
  • 29% believe there are not enough supports available in Ireland for those who have been bereaved – with 27% believing there are enough such supports

Read the complete survey here

Chief Executive of the Irish Hospice Foundation, Sharon Foley said:

“We know from our work over 30 years that Irish people want a society where death and bereavement is openly talked about and not hidden away, where people can die with dignity and that supports and services are in place for end of life and for loved ones who are bereaved. This opinion poll shows us that more than two-thirds believe the COVID-19 pandemic is making us rethink how we deal with dying and bereavement. This supports our belief from decades of experience and our learning from the COVID-19 pandemic that death, dying and bereavement is truly everyone’s business and requires a comprehensive national response.”

The research also showed a significant impact from COVID-19 with measures introduced restricting the numbers at funerals. 89% of people said that being with extended family and friends is key to grieving.

Sharon Foley added:

“We know that grieving in isolation has resulted in doubtless suffering for many individuals and families. That is why we have written to the National Public Health Emergency Team calling on them to increase the number of people allowed to attend funerals while maintaining social distancing and other public health measures.”


The Irish Hospice Foundation says the results also highlight the need for further resources and supports for people to deal with death and bereavement. We have gone some way towards addressing this with the development of our ‘Care & Inform’ online hub during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bringing together our decades of work in the sector and our most recent learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish Hospice Foundation has also today published a new policy document on dying, death and bereavement.

COVID-19 | What we have learnt | A best practice policy framework for dying, death and bereavement

The document has been sent to all political parties and outlines the key steps that a new government can take to ensure that policies and supports for death and bereavement are considered in formation talks.

The seven policy pillars outlined by the Irish Hospice Foundation are:

  • 1. Develop a whole of government strategy to end of life care
  • 2. Renew a national dialogue on dying, death and bereavement
  • 3. Plan community supports on bereavement
  • 4. Establish end-of-life and palliative care services in nursing homes
  • 5. Enable people to die at home or their place of preference
  • 6. Facilitate dialogue and planning for end of life
  • 7. Introduce a new national mortuaries programme

Best practice policy framework for dying death bereavement Seven Pillars

Sharon Foley added:

“The Irish Hospice Foundation believes that, in post COVID-19 Ireland, there is now an opportunity to equip all of our state services – including health and social care – to meet the challenges presented by the aftermath of this pandemic.

“All of us in the voluntary and statutory sectors, along with the wider public now have a responsibility to shape the future of dying, death and bereavement in Ireland. One of the main challenges is a whole of government response – to coordinate, replicate, progress and embed innovative, evidence-based solutions to issues which arise in care of the dying and the bereaved.”

Read May 2020 Survey of Irish people’s attitudes around death and bereavement

Read COVID-19 | What we have learnt | A best practice policy framework for dying, death and bereavement

Read The IHF People’s Charter on Dying, Death and Bereavement in Ireland

New care & Inform information hub on end of life and bereavement care during COVID19 launched

Posted on: May 12th, 2020

We at the Irish Hospice Foundation want to keep you, the Irish public, as informed and supported as possible in matters relating to end-of-life and bereavement care in these exceptional times.

The need to provide reliable and up-to-date information for you, the public, and healthcare professionals is vital. With our many years of experience, we are responding with our depth of expertise, to respond to your needs at this critical time.

As Ireland’s only national charity dedicated to death, dying and bereavement, we have developed our Care & Inform information hub to respond to the COVID-19 emergency in an informative and compassionate way.

You can visit our Care & Inform hub here

Updated Thursday 30 April 2020

Can you help us in these unprecedented times?

Posted on: April 6th, 2020
Thank you so much for the enormous response we have gotten to our new Care & Inform info hub.
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 the Irish Hospice Foundation to continue with this valuable work by texting 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
#IHFSupportingYou #COVID19Ireland #WeAreAllInThisTogether

Postgraduate courses: Apply now

Posted on: February 24th, 2020

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.

COVID-19 Update: Workshops on Loss & Bereavement

Posted on: February 23rd, 2020

** COVID-19 Update **

Due to COVID-19, the following IHF Workshops on Loss and Bereavement have now been cancelled.

19th March ‘Children and Loss’
20th March ‘Grief and Social Media’
26th March ‘Working with Adults Facing Death’
27th March ‘Illness and Loss: Living with the Seen and Unseen’
2nd April ‘Supporting Adolescents Through Grief and Loss’
3rd April ‘Difficult Conversations – a workshop on how to deliver bad news’

We will continue to review our other upcoming events over the days and weeks ahead.


Do you work with bereaved? In 2020, the Irish Hospice Foundation will are hosting 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

HFH Quality Improvement Awards 2020: Apply now!

Posted on: February 17th, 2020


The Irish Hospice Foundation is delighted to announce the launch of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) Quality Improvement Awards for 2020.

What are the HFHQI Awards?

The Award is a financial support for HSE/Voluntary Acute Hospitals that are engaging with the HFH programme. The Awards will support the continual quality improvement approach to end-of-life care (EOLC) and help your hospital towards implementation of the Quality Standards for End-of-Life Care in Hospitals.

For the HFH QI 2020 Award Pack and further details, click here.


Call for applications: The Economics of Bereavement

Posted on: February 17th, 2020

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), as part of its programme of research, invites applications to carry out an exploratory investigation of the economics of bereavement in Ireland.

The research is supported by a grant from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

For more details including the full tender document, click here.



We support Hooves4Hospice: A Midland Hospice Building Fund

Posted on: February 16th, 2020

Our CEO Sharon Foley speaking at the launch of the new fundraising campaign, Hooves 4 Hospice, in Mullingar recently.

The Irish Hospice Foundation is backing the Hooves4Hospice campaign which is helping raise funds to build a Level 3 Hospice to provide specialist end-of-life care and support for people in the Midlands.

The ambitious fundraising project, which was launched by Tullamore Lions Club last week and has the support of other Lions Clubs and the Irish Hospice Foundation, involves recruiting a large number of farmers willing to rear a young animal, has the potential to raise a sizeable sum of money for a much-needed Midlands Hospice.

Our CEO Sharon Foley was one of the guest speakers at the launch in Mullingar. She said:

“People in the Midlands are at a disadvantage when it comes to hospice and palliative care services compared to those in other parts of the country.  On the one hand there is excellent palliative homecare available, while on the other there is no regional specialist palliative care unit (often called regional hospice) in the Midlands.  This means patients and their families are being denied the full range of services that come with a Level 3 hospice.  As research has shown investment per person on specialist palliative care for people in Laois, Offaly, Westmeath is a fraction of that spent elsewhere. More worryingly patients have no choice in their place of care at end of life and have to rely on acute hospitals. In the Midlands, 36% of cancer patients who die, die in an acute hospital compared to 25% in the Mid-West. The excellent homecare teams need the support of specialist colleagues in regional hospices so as to be able to offer the best care to patients at end of life.  All other areas have developed, or have plans to develop, inpatient units for their populations. 

The Minister for Health told us this week that the current model of funding for capital development of hospice will remain.  That is that the local community or hospice groups fund the capital costs of building a hospice and the Department of Health will commit to pay all of the – much more substantial – revenue costs of running the hospice.  Now is the time to act to secure the future of hospice and palliative care and its further development in Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath.”

To find out more and to support the Hooves4Hospice campaign, go here. 

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!

Will you host a Big Rugby Brunch during the World Cup?

Posted on: August 16th, 2019

Answer our call!

Join in the excitement kicking off in Japan during the World Cup (Sept 20th – Nov 2nd) by hosting a Big Rugby Brunch for The Irish Hospice Foundation.

The matches will be shown during the mornings, so why not organise a brunch for family, friends and colleagues either at home, at your local club or even at work?

Simply ask your brunch guests to give a donation in lieu of a cuppa and a bite to eat.

To join the scrum and raise money for those facing dying, death and bereavement in Ireland, go here. We’ll send you out your very own Big Rugby Brunch Fundraising Pack!