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Updated Design & Dignity Guidelines to Support the Transformation of Hospital Spaces Launched

design and dignuty guidelines

Enhanced guidance outlines recommendations for dignified and comfortable sanctuaries for patients and their families to experience end-of-life and bereavement care

Design & Dignity, the partnership programme between Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and HSE Estates, has launched its revised and updated Guidelines to support hospitals build and refurbish their facilities where news can be broken sensitively and families can gather in peace and privacy.  

The new Guidelines contain guidance, assessment tools, illustrations and case studies for a range of rooms and spaces relevant to end-of-life care in hospitals. 

Design & Dignity was launched in 2010 in recognition of the much-needed private, respectful, dignified and comfortably tranquil spaces for patients and families at end of life in hospitals. To date, 47 projects have been awarded funding with palliative care suites, family rooms with overnight accommodation, counselling rooms for bereaved families, bereavement suites in emergency department and family-friendly mortuaries all developed across the country. 

The aim of the programme, then and now, is to change not just the physical environment of hospitals for people and their families facing death but also the culture of care within acute hospitals as part of IHF and HSE Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme.  

Sharon Foley, CEO of IHF, outlines the reason for the new Guidelines:

“In 2019, University College Cork conducted an independent Evaluation of the Design & Dignity Programme which shows the significant positive impact this programme has achieved for patients, families and hospital staff alike. With that in mind we wanted to demonstrate in a clear way how those who’ve already adopted the Guidelines use them and inspire others to do the same”.  

Liam Woods, Director Acute Hospitals, HSE says:

“Design & Dignity projects are making a real difference to patients, families and staff. The success of these projects is due to the support and passion of staff and management of the hospitals who have championed these projects and can see the benefits they bring to their hospital setting”.  

Michael Bermingham, Assistant National Director (Capital & Property), HSE Estates stated:

“We are committed to transforming hospital spaces through the Design & Dignity Programme in partnership with our IHF colleagues and utilising these new Guidelines to inform this important work”.   

HSE Estates have formally adopted the Design & Dignity Guidelines which will be used to guide the brief and design of all new building and refurbishment projects relating to end-of-life care in hospitals in Ireland.   

Read our Design & Dignity guidelines