The extensive refurbishment was funded by a €300,000 grant from the Design and Dignity Grant Scheme of the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and Health Services Executive (HSE). The scheme aims to transform the way hospital spaces are designed for people at end of life.
Funding to complete the revamp of the mortuary, which was originally built in 1987, was also provided by Beaumont Hospital Foundation. Approximately 900 deceased patients pass through the mortuary annually, and the old facility no longer adequately served the needs of the deceased and their bereaved families.
Works included a total upgrade of the main mortuary area creating a large bright welcoming multi/non-denominational space, the provision of a family room with kitchenette, a second smaller viewing room with facilities for ritual washing and a designated car parking area. The upgrade also includes an outside garden space where families can gather. The family room is used to meet with families in relation to the post mortem process and to give information in relation to bereavement support services.
Karen Greene, Director of Nursing at Beaumont Hospital, said, “The new design has created a serene and calming space where families can gather following the death of a loved one. Before the work was carried out, we could only cater for one family at a time and often had to ask families to wait in the car park until an earlier removal was over. Now we have a space where a number of families can be accommodated in a bright and welcoming environment to say goodbye to their loved one.”
To date 20 projects have been funded across the country under the Design & Dignity scheme at a cost of €2m.
Sharon Foley, CEO of The IHF, commented: “Every year 28,000 people in Ireland die and 43% die in acute hospitals. The Design & Dignity scheme aims to bring design excellence to hospitals where so many people spend their last days. The new mortuary at Beaumont Hospital is a sanctuary for families at a very distressing time and allows them the proper space and privacy to grieve and say that heart-breaking farewell. I’d like to commend the staff for their vision and commitment to making end of life care a priority.”
For more information on the Design & Dignity Project see www.hospicefoundation.ie