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Portlaoise Hospital awarded Irish Hospice Foundation/HSE Design & Dignity grant

Portlaoise 1

Photographed from left to right: Michael Knowles, General Manager; Louise Cooke, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Bereavement & Loss; and Matt Corcoran, Operations Manager from Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise

Following a national callout, the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise has been awarded an Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF)/HSE Design & Dignity grant to further develop end-of-life and bereavement care.

Following the tremendous success of the first three rounds of Design & Dignity Projects, Portlaoise is one of seven hospitals nationwide to receive funding through Round Four.

Hospitals can be very unhospitable places for newly-bereaved people and families. Recognising how deeply people are affected by their surroundings, the Design & Dignity Project has developed a range of ‘exemplar’ projects within public acute hospitals. To date, over 40 projects have been funded transforming older/dated spaces including family rooms, gardens and mortuaries across Ireland.

Hospital teams have so far created relaxing, spacious family rooms within busy acute wards, upgraded mortuaries into welcoming, respectful environments and redesigned viewing rooms in emergency departments and bereavement suites in maternity units.

The End-of-Life committee in Portlaoise plan to complete a major renovation of their mortuary with the funding.

Michael Knowles, General Manager, Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise commented: “We are delighted to be one of the seven hospitals nationwide to be awarded funding by the Design & Dignity programme. We would like to thank the Irish Hospice Foundation for their ongoing support.

The staff at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise are committed to providing compassionate End-of-life care in partnership with bereaved families. The mortuary is a sanctuary and the planned renovations will convey a sense of reverence and respect for life, death and bereavement. Our design will honour the sensitive individuality of each person’s death and the needs of their families.

We would also like to acknowledge the work of the team on the ground here who have worked tirelessly to secure this funding.”

The Round Four winners were announced alongside the launch of the report “Evaluation of the Design & Dignity programme” carried out by University College Cork (UCC). Focusing on the first two rounds of Design & Dignity projects, the report found that Design & Dignity was seen to positively impact on the end-of-life culture in acute hospitals, families, staff and patients

Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation, commented: “The vision of Design & Dignity is that every adult, paediatric and maternity hospital in Ireland has warm and welcoming spaces to enable dignity and respect for patients and families facing dying, death and bereavement. This flagship project is significantly shaping the overall culture of end-of-life care in Irish hospitals and it is truly wonderful to see the level of pride that staff fee, having played a vital role in bringing their Design & Dignity projects to fruition.”

John Browner, Assistant National Director with HSE Estates said: “All too often the focus of capital development and investment in healthcare has been on the provision of bed numbers and the expansion and improvement of clinical areas. The introduction and roll out of the Design & Dignity initiative and concept is challenging us to ensure that end-of-life care takes centre stage in the projects delivered by the initiative. We aim to continue to provide much needed private, respectful, dignified and comfortable spaces for patients and families within the wider hospital environment, during difficult times.”