Design & Dignity News


Design & Dignity RESIZED

Design & Dignity Grants Announcement 2018


Following the tremendous success of the first three rounds of Design & Dignity Projects, we are delighted to announce that HSE Estates and the Irish Hospice Foundation have committed a fund for another round of projects.


Recognising how deeply people are affected by their surroundings, the Design & Dignity Project has developed a range of ‘exemplar’ projects within public acute hospitals. To date, we have supported over 30 projects around Ireland.


Hospitals have created relaxing, spacious family rooms as oasis of calm within busy acute wards, upgraded mortuaries into welcoming, respectful sanctuaries and redesigned family focused bereavement suites in emergency departments and maternity units. Feedback from patients, families, patients and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.


Who can apply:

Public adult and maternity hospitals and paediatric units are eligible to apply.

Hospital relocating to a new site are exempt.


Types of exemplar projects likely to be considered

  • Family focused bereavement suites in emergency departments (i.e. viewing room with adjoining family room) [* please see footnote below re. Rosabel’s Rooms]
  • Family rooms with overnight & refreshment facilities
  • Palliative care suites within wards (e.g. inpatient room with adjoining family room)
  • Ward spaces to create areas of greater privacy
  • Family friendly mortuaries
  • Interior design including artwork and finishings to elevate projects already underway to ‘exemplar’ status

How to apply for a Design & Dignity Grant:

Please submit the following to by email and in hardcopy to Bronagh Curran, The Irish Hospice Foundation, 32 Nassau Street Dublin 2, D02 YE06 / bronagh.curran@hospicefoundation.ie



1. A completed D&D Grant Application Form 1 copy
2. A letter from the hospital manager confirming the hospital’s funding commitment (a minimum of 30% of the total project cost)


1 copy
3. Drawings developed by a Design Architect (preferably 3D drawings in A4)


6 copies (A4)
4. A detailed breakdown of costings developed by a Quantity Surveyor 6 copies


Closing date for applications

Friday 14 September 2018




































































Application Form Round 4 – Design & Dignity Grants Scheme v1.0













Guidance Notes April 2018 – Design and Dignity Grants Scheme











Minister of State, Ann Phelan, TD opens new bereavement room for parents in St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow – Kilkenny

Family with Doctor


Minister of State, Ann Phelan, TD opens new bereavement room for parents in St Luke’s General Hospital

A new counselling and bereavement room for families using the maternity services at St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow-Kilkenny will be officially opened, today, May 7th, by Ann Phelan TD, Minister of State at the Departments of Agriculture, Food and Marine.

The Solace Room was funded under the Design & Dignity Grants scheme, operated and co-funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation, (IHF) and the Health Service Executive, (HSE). A grant of €48,240 was awarded for the project.

The scheme aims to transform the way hospital spaces are designed for people at the end of life, and to set the standard for other hospitals to follow.

The room provides a dedicated space for bereaved parents following the loss of a baby prematurely or the sudden death of a full term child. It also serves as a private space where bad news can be broken, for example in the event of a baby being diagnosed with a congenital abnormality.

Prior to the creation of the room, bad news relating to a foetal abnormality or pregnancy loss was broken to patients in an office or the room where the ultrasound was carried out. The Solace Room is situated away from the inpatient and delivery suite area, affording sensitivity to parents at a very difficult time.

Anne Slattery, General Manager at St Luke’s General Hospital, said that the new room will greatly benefit families in Carlow and Kilkenny:

“We are very grateful to the Irish Hospice Foundation for supporting the proposal made by staff in our Maternity Unit for this dedicated room,” she said. “It provides a quiet space away from the busy department. Great thought and effort has gone into the design and development of this space, which will be used by families attending our Maternity Unit.”

Professor Ray O’Sullivan, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at St Luke’s General Hospital welcomed the development:

“Thousands of women and their families endure the heartbreak of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death every year in Ireland. The grief and trauma of these unexpected events often happen in very public locations. St. Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny is pleased to announce the opening of the Solace Room – a location away from the normal business of the hospital.  It is a purpose designed room where women and their families can begin to grieve for the little life that has been lost.”

The idea for the Solace Room came from the management and staff in the Maternity Department. On behalf of the midwifery staff working at St. Luke’s General Hospital, Anne Flynn and Patricia Wogan said that they were pleased that families could benefit from the special room:

“This room is for parents and their families who receive sad news or loss during their pregnancy or around the time of birth. The Solace Room will now give our women a place in which to be given sad news, and to sit and have as much time as needed to understand and receive the appropriate information and support in a nice, non-medical environment.”

The new room is part of the ongoing partnership between St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow- Kilkenny and the Irish Hospice Foundation. The hospital’s End of Life Care Committee has been working on a number of initiatives to improve services and support care for people at the end of life throughout the hospital.

To date 11 projects have been funded across the country under the Design & Dignity scheme at a cost of €1.5m. A further nine hospitals around Ireland will benefit from grants totalling €500,000 this year, which will help transform older/dated spaces including family rooms, gardens and mortuaries.

Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation said;

 “This project in St Luke’s is an excellent example of how a peaceful environment can be created in a busy maternity facility. Losing a child is one of the most traumatic experiences a parent can go through, but having the appropriate space and time to digest the news is crucial.” 

“Our congratulations are extended to all who worked on this project and especially to the staff of St Luke’s General Hospital for their drive and commitment to providing this space for their patients.  It is wonderful to see it come to fruition and I’m sure the facility will be a source of some comfort for bereaved parents at a terribly distressing time in their lives.”

Mortuary at University Hospital Limerick nominated for Healthcare Building Project of the Year award

We are delighted to hear that the mortuary extension at University Hospital Limerick has been nominated as a finalist in the ‘Healthcare Building Project of the Year’ category at The Irish Healthcare Centre Awards 2015.

The hospital in Dooradoyle was awarded a Design & Dignity grant in 2011 totalling €285,000, along with funding from HSE estates, which was used to transform the old mortuary into a calming dignified space for bereaved families.

The new mortuary facility at University Hospital Limerick wraps around an internal tranquil garden. Family members are automatically drawn to this light and bright space which can be viewed from many angles. This feature allows them the opportunity to reflect and prepare themselves for viewing their loved ones.

All entrance doors have the end of life spiral engraved on the glass which adds a rightful degree of respect and solemnity. The three stranded spiral inspired by ancient Irish history is multi-denominational, and represents birth, life and death. The outer circle represents continuity, infinity and completion.
The provision of a kitchenette in the mortuary allows for tea and coffee making facilities, while a privacy room, away from the main area, offers a tranquil space for families to have time together in a protected and supporting space.

Denis Casey, End of Life Care Coordinator at University Hospital Limerick said, “The grant allowed us to make major improvements to the mortuary and this has created a much more inviting space for families to congregate following the death of their loved one. We are delighted that the improvements carried out to the mortuary have been recognised with a nomination for Healthcare Building Project of the Year by the Irish Healthcare Centre Awards.

He added, “University Hospital Limerick would like to acknowledge the support of the HSE in bringing the mortuary project to completion.”

Now in their third year, these annual awards will once again attract key healthcare sector executives and professionals together for one night to celebrate their industry achievements, excellence and successes. There are 20+ categories including Clinical Team of the Year, Primary Care Centre of the Year and Healthcare Person of the Year.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on March 27th in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire.

 Design & Dignity features on Nationwide


Three projects that have benefited to date from the Design & Dignity grant fund  – a mortuary in Mercy University Hospital in Cork, a family room in The Mater in Dublin and a mortuary in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin featured on Nationwide on RTÉ One on Friday, January 16, at 7pm.

Here is what they had to say;

“Losing a loved one is the most traumatic event any of us will experience. Eighty people die in Ireland every day, 43 per cent of them in acute hospitals and to make that end of life transition easier there is a scheme called Design and Dignity. This scheme funds hospitals to transform depressing and dreary morgues and family rooms into brighter spaces. The funding for this has come from the HSE and the Irish Hospice Foundation and 11 projects have been supported across the country to make this time easier for families at this difficult time. Mary Fanning went to see how these projects were helping people.”

To view this programme please click the link below;

Nationwide – Design & Dignity



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