Bereavement Support Line 1800 80 70 77

Sunflower News autumn 2020

When we asked for help to answer the calls of fearful families, your caring heart answered. Your generosity during this crisis sent Nurses for Night Care to the doorsteps of dying people across Ireland. And the gift you’ve given is more precious by far than medical care alone.

Our tears fell with yours when heartbroken families shared their stories of how coronavirus had taken their loved ones well before their time.

“I’ve seen it,” said Nurse for Night Care, Mary. “In the hospital, people who are at the end of life are alone in the last few weeks. It’s so sad.”

And that’s why, Mary says, your generosity is such a cherished gift to terminally ill people and their families at this distressing time. Because of you, our Nurses for Night Care have been able to reach many more people who are cocooning fragile family members in those final days and nights.

But the gift you give when you send Nurses for Night Care to their doorsteps is infinitely more precious and profound than medical care on its own. Thanks to you, the relief and reassurance Nurses for Night Care bring is something like magic.

The Human Touch

Were you to meet Mary, you’d feel the warmth that surrounds her like a glow. A nurse from the tips of her fingers all the way to her toes, she knows that end-of-life care is more than medicine. At its very core, nursing is about bringing kindness, comfort and reassurance to the person who is dying and their loved ones.

“You can see the relief in people’s faces when they open the door to me,” Mary says. “You are with families who are so desperate, so vulnerable, so isolated. They’re just so appreciative that you’re there.” Some patients want to talk to Mary about life and love as their families sleep. Some are unable to speak at all. But that doesn’t deny them the quiet comfort of her presence.

Sent by your generosity, Mary has read to patients, put on music, and even played the piano. And it’s those human touches in nursing care that mean so very much to families in their most vulnerable moments.

Conor, whose mother was cared for by a Nurse for Night Care put it like this:
“It’s hard to put into words what Nurses for Night Care do because it goes far beyond the wonderful practical assistance they provide.”

Nursing in the new ‘normal’

But for frontline nurses like Mary, this year has been tough. “Coronavirus has made the human side of nursing much more difficult,” says Mary. “We’re gowned up head to toe in PPE, and that can be unnerving for patients. It’s hard for us because our job is to make patients feel secure.”

Everyone deserves the chance to die at home in a circle of love. Your gifts give families this precious and priceless gift.

A profession with kindness and compassion at its core, coronavirus has made the challenging job of nurses even more difficult. But your generosity is helping struggling frontline workers through the toughest of times.

From those who lost their lives to coronavirus, to families who couldn’t be with their loved one at the end, to the nurses who had to speak the final words of the person they loved to distraught families — rivers of tears have been shed.

“How can I reassure my patients from behind a veil of PPE?” That’s one of the questions heavy-hearted frontline Nurses for Night Care came to us with when coronavirus changed the practice of nursing overnight. Because of your generosity, we were able to swiftly send out new advice to help nurses care for patients in these exceptional times. A time when the human touch once relied on to reassure — a squeeze of the arm, a ready smile — were no longer safe.

Thanks to you, the materials reached the hands of many hundreds of frontline nurses and healthcare workers across Ireland.

Inside, practical advice on how they could deliver the best possible care to patients and fearful families. Like how to use tone of voice and body language to bring comfort. And tips like pinning a photograph and name tag to the front of their scrubs to show the full face now hidden beneath PPE.

Our ‘Care and Inform’ materials aren’t just for nurses. Practical advice is also available for the bereaved here

Lost in Grief

Imagine losing the love of your life during lockdown? Imagine you couldn’t say goodbye, then having to navigate your grief alone. Will you help bring a listening ear to people whose world has fallen apart?

If you’ve felt the raw pain of fresh grief, you know that it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever feel. But all of us will feel it. It’s the price we pay for love. There’s never a ‘good time’ to lose one you love. But the worst time may well be at a time like this — when those left behind were isolated and had to grieve all alone. Coronavirus has left a trail of broken hearts behind it. Wives have lost husbands. Sons have lost fathers. And sisters have lost brothers.

Many others have died after long-fought illnesses or in sudden deaths unrelated to the virus. It’s devastating. That’s why, with your help, and in partnership with the HSE, we’ve launched our Irish Hospice Foundation Bereavement Support Line. Nobody should have to face the pain of grief alone.

And we’re asking for your support to help people who find themselves lost in grief.

Will you bring support and solace to someone who has lost a loved one?

  • Irish Hospice Foundation is the only free at-home Night Nursing service for patients suffering from non-cancer diseases.
  • We work with the same night nurses as Irish Cancer Society. But care for patients dying of illnesses other than cancer — that’s everything from dementia, to heart disease — are funded with the help of donations like yours.
  • Since coronavirus, our Nurses for Night Care service has seen an increase for calls for help. Your generosity made sure we could reach them all. Thank you… your compassion powers this precious night care.

Most people in Ireland want to die in the comfort and familiarity of ‘home’, their loved ones around them. But many people don’t know it’s a choice they have. You can change that.

Has the gentle care of a Nurse for Night Care touched your family? If the answer is ‘yes’, we’d love to hear from you.

By sharing your experience with our Nurses for Night Care, you can give other families a choice they may not even know they have.

This is a deeply personal request, we know, but if you are willing to share
email: [email protected]

In this time of reflection, you may be considering the loved ones and charities you want to remember with a parting gift in your will. If Irish Hospice Foundation has a special place in your heart, your free guide to making your will is waiting for you. Just email us and we’ll pop one in the post to you. Thank you for your consideration.
Email: [email protected]