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Children’s Palliative Care

It is estimated 3,800 children In Ireland have life-limiting illness in Ireland. Some 350 of these children die each year, most of them in the first year of life.

No definitive official figures for childhood bereavement exist, but it is estimated that between 36,000 and 60,000 children in Ireland may have experienced a significant bereavement.


How we work to support children’s palliative care:


Education & Training

  • Providing education and training for professionals who work with grieving children and families, including a postgraduate Professional Certificate Course in ‘Children and Loss’; and an annual series of one/two-day workshops on topics such as Parental Grief, Bereavement and Loss in Adolescence, etc.
  • Running on-site staff development workshops (Final Journeys; Breaking Bad News) for hospital staff, including those working in children’s and maternity services, which aim to enhance end-of-life care, raise awareness and improve communication skills.


  • Continuing to advocate and work for the full implementation of the government’s 2010 national policy on palliative care for children with life-limiting conditions, not least through our active representation on the National Development Committee for Children’s Palliative Care.

Bereavement Services

  • Hosting the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network, a hub for those working with bereaved children, aimed at facilitating access to information, guidance and support. We employ a half-time Coordinator to lead and develop this Network.
  • Supporting bereaved families – including children/teenagers – by offering a range of information resources, such as leaflets, reading lists, a dedicated website and a specialist library.

More From This Section:

Children – Palliative Care

Children with Life-Limiting conditions Some children are born with, or develop, what is termed a ‘life-limiting condition’. This means that they have an incurable illness, often requiring special care, and, at times, they may need palliative care We estimate that there are approximately 4,000 children living with a life limiting illness in Ireland.  Sadly about […] Read more >

Care for Children Campaign

In 2005, The Irish Hospice Foundation in association with the Department of Health & Children published A Palliative Care Needs Assessment for Children. A key finding of this nationwide study was that most families want their seriously ill child to be cared for and if possible to die at home surrounded by family, favourite toys […] Read more >

Role of Consultant & Outreach Nurses

A key finding of the children’s palliative care needs assessment published in 2005 was that the preferred place of care for children with life-limiting conditions is the home. At present, however, only 11% of seriously ill children die at home, and better coordination of care was identified as a priority to enable more children to […] Read more >

Children – Education & Information Initiatives

Education, training, awareness-raising and provision of information on end-of-life and bereavement care are key elements of the Irish Hospice Foundation’s work.  A number of initiatives in these areas are particularly relevant to the care of children. Education – Professional Certificate in Children and Loss When children experience loss through death, parental separation, etc., their needs […] Read more >

Children – Night Nursing

  Our Nurses for Night Care service was developed in order to provide free night nursing for people dying at home from conditions other than cancer. We receive no state funding and this service is entirely funded through charitable means. Cancer patients had long had access to such a service, provided by the Irish Cancer […] Read more >

Children – Bereavement Network

Hosted by the Irish Hospice Foundation, the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN) is a hub for those working with bereaved children, young people and their families in Ireland. The aim of the Network is to facilitate access to local and national information, guidance and support to enable children and young people to manage the impact […] Read more >

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