Each year, within Ireland 43% of people receive end-of-life care and die in hospitals; for most people this is not where they would choose to die. At Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), our mission is to work towards the best end-of-life and bereavement care for all, regardless of the setting. Our Hospice friendly Hospitals (HfH) Programme seeks to ensure that end-of-life, palliative and bereavement care is central to hospitals. Established by IHF in 2007 and originally funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, the HfH programme has progressed and developed over the years. Now, Irish Hospice Foundation works in partnership with the Health Services Executive (HSE) and hospitals nationwide are engaged with the Hospice friendly Hospitals Programme.
The HfH programme aims to improve of end-of-life care (EOLC) in acute hospitals by using a strategic and focused approach, which is underpinned by the Quality Standards for End-of-Life Care in Hospitals. Through its multidimensional approach, the HfH programme works to enhance all aspects of end-of-life care in acute hospitals.
There are six core elements of the programme:
Our End of Life Symbol
A universally recognised symbol that indicates end-of-life care; it appears on many of the resources connected with the end of life. Inspired by ancient Irish history, this symbol is not associated with any religion or denomination.
The three stranded white spiral represents the interconnected cycle of life: birth, life and death. The white outer circle represents continuity, infinity, and completion. Purple is the background colour as it’s associated with nobility, solemnity and spirituality.
Our end-of-life symbol is used in health settings to indicate that a person is dying or has died. View our End-Of-Life Care Resources
National HfH Networks
Our HfH networks provide opportunities for professionals from across the hospital and health care settings and specialities to connect and collaborate with one another. Essentially bringing hospital staff together to promote improvement in end-of-life care.
All HfH Network meetings are NMBI accredited. Find out more information about our upcoming HFH Network Events.
End-of-Life Care Coordinators
Adult, Paediatric and Maternity hospitals and units nationwide are engaged with the HfH programme and working to improve EOL care in their setting. Nationally, there are 30 hospitals which have a dedicated End-of-Life Care Coordinator in post.
The role of an End-of-Life Care Coordinator focuses on quality improvement on all aspects of dying, death and bereavement which is informed by patients, their relatives, hospital staff, national standards, policy, regulation, guidance, and evidence-based research.
The below map shows which hospitals have a dedicated End-of-Life Care Coordinator.