Bereavement Support Line 1800 80 70 77

Your Irish Hospice Foundation Summer 2022 Newsletter

ihf newsletter 2022 july cover

Even as the pandemic parted people from their families in their dying days, you gave profound and precious moments of comfort.

Words of Love and Sweet Soul Music

In the darkest days of the pandemic, families were separated from the ones they loved as they took their final breaths in a hospital bed. But even then, your silent compassion was hard at work. This is how your kindness brought untold comfort to people parted from their loved ones at the very end.

You remember that time. You remember the heartbreaking stories of families separated from loved ones in their final moments because of the pandemic. But what you may not know is that your generous support of our Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) programme meant that when the pandemic came, patients parted from loved ones were able to get the best possible care, even in the worst possible circumstances.

You see, thanks to your steadfast support of this silent work of the heart, there are now End-of-Life Care Coordinators working in hospitals across Ireland. And so when the pandemic hit, people like Bettina, solely dedicated to end-of-life care, were there to ensure people dying in hospital – deprived  of their family’s warm hugs and kisses – could still connect with the people they loved most in this world.

Says Bettina of that time:

“I had a job to do. I had to find the best possible ways to connect families with their loved ones in hospital.”  

Cutting the ‘Red Tape’ 

She says things that would in “normal times” have taken years to set in motion were up and running within days. Like the technology to play music in patients’ rooms. It gave families the chance to create playlists of the dying person’s favourite music – The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Debussy – and touch their loved one’s heart and soul from afar in that magical way only music can. 

Bettina remembers the bittersweetness of people singing My Way and Molly Malone to their dying loved ones down the phone. One little girl sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to her grandfather 

You can only imagine how that gentle lullaby, sung into his ear by the light of his life, flooded his heart with love in  his final days on this earth. 

Final Goodbye 

Bettina brought in electronic tablets so families could video call their loved ones. So they could look into the eyes of the people they loved. For many fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives… this is how they said goodbye. It was the crushing reality of that time. But the truth is this – without kindness like yours, for many, there would have been no goodbye at all. 

Of your kind support for the families who couldn’t be with their loved one at the very end, Bettina says: 

“It was the greatest gift to know somebody else was there when they couldn’t be.” 

Every tender moment you made possible for people who couldn’t hold the hand of their beloved as they slipped away means more than you can ever know. Thank you. 

What are Hospice Friendly Hospitals? 

Powered by caring hearts like you and in partnership with the HSE, our Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme began in 2007 to bring the very best end-of-life and bereavement care to hospitals. Here’s how your kindness touches lives every day.

Thank you for your compassionate heart. 

If you see this symbol…

Cheerful chatting, whistling, laughing…even the sound of a hoover being used… 

If you’ve ever lost someone, you know how cruel it feels that the world simply carries on around you like nothing has happened when your world is falling apart.  And that’s what this End-of-life symbol is all about.

As part of our Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme, we created the symbol in response to staff worrying the busy ward environment might add to the stress and sorrow of losing a loved one. When hospital staff see this symbol displayed, whether the chief surgeon or the  cleaning staff, they know someone on the ward is dying or has suffered a crushing loss and can help create a respectful environment in someone’s time of profound grief. 

It’s the kind of thing you might not notice unless it means something to you and then it means everything. This is just one more way your compassion brings millions of moments of mercy to the dying and bereaved every single day in hospitals across Ireland. Thank you. 

Thank You for 2,729 Nights of Gentle Care…. 

Nurses for Night Care

With your steadfast support of Nurses for Night Care like Annemarie, more people than ever before have been able to spend their final few nights on this earth at home, blanketed by their family’s love.

When we asked Annemarie what having a Nurse for Night Care means to the families your kindness touches, she tells us about a gentleman whose wife was dying. 

 “He was exhausted but worried to go to sleep. I said you take yourself off to bed, and I’ll call you if anything happens. I said you can come down in your pyjamas at 3…4…5 in the morning just to hold her hand. It meant he could get a few hours of rest knowing his wife was in safe hands.” 

Even When There is No One Else. You Are There… 

We know that you believe every person deserves the dignity of a proper funeral and burial, even if they’ve few people to mourn their passing. This  is how your kindness gives people who have no one else the respect they deserve even after they’ve gone… 

At 93, Margaret had outlived every member of her family. When she died, there was no one to arrange her funeral.   

It’s a heartbreaking thought. It makes you think of Margaret’s mother, long gone, and how she would feel if she knew her child had no one to say a few words at her graveside.  

Thankfully, because of your generous support through Irish Hospice’s Foundation’s ‘Hardship Fund’, Margaret was given the dignity of a proper burial.  

“We had a referral through from social services. It was Margaret’s neighbour. She looked in on her from time to time, and she couldn’t bear the idea of her life just ending without the proper respects paid.”  

Marie, who manages the fund.

Our Hardship Fund’ is one of the only places people can turn for help with funeral costs and it helped give Margaret a small service and burial site. 

Past Issues

Read past issues of Your Irish Hospice Foundation newsletters in the archive

Subscribe to Your Irish Hospice Foundation

Subscribe to Your Irish Hospice Foundation to receive the printed version of our bi-annual newsletter in the post.