The Health Service Executive and Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has announced the new Joint Oversight Group of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme.
Marie Lynch, IHF Head of Healthcare Programmes said: “The Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme is an initiative of the IHF to ensure that end-of-life, palliative and bereavement care is central to the everyday business of hospitals, and the best possible care is available to people at end-of life and their loved ones at this difficult time. An average 30,000 deaths occur in Ireland every year. Approximately 48 per cent of those people will die in an acute hospital.”
The Hospital Friendly Hospitals Programme has been adopted by 48 hospitals nationwide in Ireland since it was established in 2007 to improve the standard of end-of-life care in Irish hospitals. The new Joint Oversight Group was formed to further support the embedding of the Hospice Friendly Hospital Programme within HSE structures. It will also examine ways to expand and develop the programme across the hospital system where possible.
Dr Ciarán Browne, HSE Acute Hospital Division said: “We are very pleased to continue and extend our close working relationship with the Irish Hospice Foundation on the Hospice Friendly Hospital Programme. We recognise the importance of this work to patients, their families and staff. The HFH Programme supports our goal of creating a caring and compassionate environment across our hospital system.”
The new group is chaired by Professor Cillian Twomey. It includes experts from clinical programmes in palliative care, older persons, emergency department and paediatric care and will meet three times a year.
The HFH programme co-ordinates three networks for hospital staff to promote improvements in end-of-life care from the perspective of patients, families and hospital staff; the Acute Hospital Network, Maternity/Children’s Network and The End-of-Life Co-Ordinator Network. The programme advocates for investment in palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care services at the hospital, hospital group and national levels. It develops and promotes the use of ceremonial resources such as the end of life symbol, family handover bags, drapes and ward altars.
It also develops promotional and educational supports for all hospital staff. It co-ordinates the Design and Dignity Project which aims to transform the way hospital spaces are designed for people at end-of life. It provides expert advice and guidance directly to hospital staff to support the implementation of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme in their hospitals.