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“It is ok to talk about death”
In Ireland, there are over 28,000 people living in residential care, with approximately 7,000 dying each year in these settings.
CEOL (Compassionate End of Life), an IHF programme, helps residential care centers, including nursing homes, across Ireland, identify and implement changes to enhance end-of-life care for their residents, families, and staff.
Over 100 centers have already participated in CEOL with 1,200 staff receiving training. One of these, St Joseph’s Care Centre in Longford, is already seeing great improvements in how they care for those at end of life, particularly with regards to discussing the topic of death with residents.
“It was a taboo subject for a long time,” says Karen Johnston, CEOL Co-ordinator for St Joseph’s. “Some people shied away from talking about death, but with the IHF’s support, we’ve been able to start having meaningful discussions about it with the residents. Staff are now more confident and are aware that it is ok to talk about death.”
Another improvement at St Joseph’s has been the introduction of a guard of honor after a resident has passed away.
“Everyone is now brought out through the front door of the care center. The residents and staff form a guard of honor and it gives everyone the opportunity to reflect, pay their respects, and acknowledge that this person had a life and spent time with us in St Joseph’s.”
The IHF will continue to work with nursing homes to reach more people at end of life.