What is Design & Dignity?

Design & Dignity, as part of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme, is a partnership project between Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and the Health Service Executive (HSE). In 2010, Design & Dignity was launched 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, 52 projects have been awarded funding with palliative care suites, family rooms with overnight accommodation, rooms for bereaved families, bereavement suites in emergency department and family-friendly mortuaries 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. 

What does Design & Dignity do? 

Design & Dignity transforms old and outdated spaces, one room at a time.  

We do this by: 

  • Funding a range of ‘exemplar’ projects through a formal Grants scheme  
  • Providing practical architectural support and advice to interested applicants. 
  • Developing the Design & Dignity Guidelines allowing hospital staff to enhance the physical environment of hospitals. These guidelines have since been adopted by the HSE should be used to inform all new and refurbished work.  
  • Providing staff with tools and resources to enable staff to implement the Design & Dignity Guidelines.  

How to Apply

All HSE and Voluntary adult, maternity and paediatric hospitals and units are eligible to apply.  

If your setting is interested in applying through Design & Dignity, please contact the team via email on d&[email protected]  

For information on how to apply, please refer to the following documents: 

Application Deadlines 

Applications are reviewed by the Design & Dignity Panel Advisory Group bi-annually, listed below are the two deadlines for grant submissions.  

  • Friday 15th March 2024 
  • Friday 15th November 2024 


To support an application, we recommend potential applicants reviewing the following: 

Provide the necessary direction for the design and planning of acute hospitals, so existing buildings can support quality end-of-life care. Download the Design & Dignity Guidelines

Watch an introduction to the Design & Dignity programme, why it is vital and testimonials of staff who have received funding for a project.  

Watch the short animation detailing how the Irish Hospice Foundation’s ‘Design & Dignity’ project aims to provide comforting places and private spaces for people facing the end of life and their loved ones. 

Watch a presentation by Ronan Rose-Roberts: Design & Dignity Architect advisor shares his experience and knowledge of creating exemplar rooms and spaces, whilst exploring the question: Why do Design & Dignity projects cost more than standard hospital refurbishments? 

Download the Design & Dignity Portfolio, showcasing a selection of Design & Dignity projects