Seed Grant Projects 2024 - Arts in Residential Care

In conjunction with Caru (a continuous learning programme for care and compassion at end of life in nursing homes), Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) launched a fourth round of our Seed Grant programme in May 2024. In contrast to previous years, this round focusses on creative exploration and responses to grief and loss in a residential care setting.

Following a call-out for submissions, we received circa 40 applications for a place on this programme designed to encourage creative exploration through micro-financing and mentorship. Awardees include activity co-ordinators, artists, and academics. Selection was made to align with Caru’s ambition as a quality improvement programme, namely to support and improve the delivery of compassionate, person-centred, palliative, end-of-life, and bereavement care to residents and family members in nursing homes.

Using a wide variety of creative practice, each project is aimed at encouraging safe conversations about end-of-life planning, dying, death, grief, and loss. This will be reflected in the use of song, drama, film, theatre, writing, poetry, movement, storytelling, memorabilia, mosaics, collage, and painting.

These projects will develop from June 2024 until November 2024. We look forward to sharing the results and learnings from each one as they develop.

A headshot of Gabrielle Breathnach, who is completing an arts project for Irish Hospice Foundation's 2024 Seed Grant programme.

Unveiling Shadows (Dublin)

Gabrielle Breathnach, a youth drama worker, will lead a series of drama and theatre classes for the staff and visitors of Anna Gaynor House, Residential Care, Harold’s Cross Hospice in Dublin. These classes will offer an open space outside of work to raise and discuss issues of dying, death, grief, and loss.

Community Choir (Limerick)

Activity Co-ordinator Michelle Clifford will form a new choir at Milford Nursing Home in Limerick to nurture culture change and community building. Selection of songs, choice of moments to sing, and the dynamics of singing will offer prompts for conversations about death, dying, and grief.

A headshot of Lisa Hester, who is completing an arts project for Irish Hospice Foundation's 2024 Seed Grant programme.

Space for Remembrance and Healing (Clare)

Artist Lisa Hester, with a PhD in engaged practice, will develop on her existing relationship with Ennis Road Care Facility in Clare to establish both dedicated group and one-to-one art sessions aimed at safely and quietly exploring grief and loss.

A headshot of Helen Keenan, who is completing an arts project for Irish Hospice Foundation's 2024 Seed Grant programme.

Moving Forward with Grief (Cavan)

Helen Keenan, a multi-disciplinary artist, will deliver a series of phased interventions at Esker Lodge Nursing Home in Cavan. These will start with prompts and movement, then video, culminating in collating a lasting 'momento mori' for residents, staff, and loved ones.

A photo of Sunhill Nursing Home.

In My Thoughts (Louth)

Under the stewardship of Elaine Moloney, Director of Nursing at Sunhill Nursing Home in Louth, two artists will build on existing residencies using multiple art forms to act as prompts for conversations with residents, staff, and loved ones, leading to a support pack for families.

A headshot of Rebecca Strain, who is completing an arts project for Irish Hospice Foundation's 2024 Seed Grant programme.

Roots of Remembrance (Donegal)

Artist Rebecca Strain began working with Brindley Manor Nursing Home during the pandemic. She will establish a once-a-week art room focussing on mosaics for residents and staff to encourage conversations staff rarely, if ever, have time for.

About Caru

Caru is a continuous learning programme developed by Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), in partnership with All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) and the HSE.

Our aim is to support and empower nursing homes and their staff in the delivery of palliative, end-of-life, and bereavement care, leading in turn to enhanced quality of life for residents and a good death, easing the bereavement process for their families. Shaped by a spirit of compassion for people in their care, it is underpinned by expertise, experience and research, to support and empower nursing homes.

Learn more at caru.ie.