Resource spotlight – End-of-life care intelligence network

The National End-of -Life Care Intelligence Network (NEoLCIN) was established as part of the UK End-of-Life care strategy to collate research and information on palliative and end-of-life care.

The NEoLCIN website brings together research, data sources, resources and even case study profiles to create a repository of information to assist practitioners, researchers, social and health care workers and those researching end-of-life care quality.

The  resources section features links to relevant journals and publications and the data sources page lists reliable sources for the assessment of end-of-life care subdivided into categories such as dementia, hospice care, mortality, place of death or sudden death.

This is a very comprehensive portal site for anyone looking for reliable end-of-life care research and assessment material so well worth bookmarking or signing up for their email content alerts.

Launch of Quality standards for end-of-life care and audit on end-of-life report

Standards development coordinator Helen Donovan & Minister Mary Harney at the launch of 'Quality standards for end-of-life care in Hospitals' Clontarf castle May 19

Wednesday’s Hospice Friendly Hospitals conference ‘End-of-life care; from the margins to the mainstream’ saw the launch of the report on the first ‘National audit of end-of-life care in Hospitals in Ireland’ and the new ‘Quality standards for end-of-life care in Hospitals’

These publications mark the end of phase one of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme and represent a significant contribution to the understanding of current practice and future development of end-of-life services in Ireland. The audit, which surveyed end of life care in 24 acute hospitals (75 % of the acute sector) and 19 community hospitals (20% of community sector) presents a unique multi dimensional approach to assessing death and dying in Irish hospitals illustrating the  varying perspectives on quality of care at end of life from doctors, nurses, hospital staff patients and relatives.

Among the audit findings are;

  • 20/25% of patients could have died at home were adequate supports in place
  • Information given to patients’ relatives is often not adequate
  • Quality levels vary across diseases with cancer at the high end of the spectrum and dementia at the lower end
  • The hospitals treatment of the family has a lasting effect

The Quality standards, launched by  Minister Mary Harney at Wednesdays conference were  developed as a framework around which to implement quality care. They have been arranged around the four key areas of Hospital – Staff – Patient -Family and aim to provide access points from which hospitals can integrate compassion and communication into processes and practice.

The quality standards and the audit report are available to download from the Hospice Friendly Hospitals website or hard copies can be obtained from the Irish Hospice Foundation

Forum on end-of-life report now available

The wait is over, the full report of the Forum on end-of-life, the year long public consultation on end-of-life issues and experiences in Ireland is now available to download.

The report marks the first comprehensive enquiry into end-of-life experiences in Ireland and represents the viewpoints of all those who participated in the forum discussions and workshops including healthcare practitioners, members of the emergency services, academics and policy makers and members of the public. 

The full report can be downloaded HERE  and the accompanying Draft action plan is available HERE   

‘Spirit in a place of strangers’ – Seminar – NUIM Centre for transformative narrative inquiry

 NUI Maynooth’s Centre for Transformative narrative inquiry presents an evening seminar on Wednesday 9th June 7.30 – 9.30 p.m. and a class on Thursday 10th June from 9.30 a.m – 3.30 p.m entitled ‘Spirit in a place of strangers’. 

The seminar will be presented by Professor Arthur  W. Frank  of University of Calgary. Professor Frank, a medical sociologist has published extensively on the subject of illness and its impact on the individual, drawing at times on personal experience, in publications such as ‘At the will of the body’. The seminar will examine narrative techniques for the exploration of the illness experience and as such would be of interest to palliative and social care workers, pastoral care workers, hospice and bereavement professionals as well as those interested in medical sociology or narrative technique.

Further details and booking information can be obtained by contacting Mary Corbally at the Department of Adult and Community Education NUI Maynooth Phone (01) 708 3784.  Email:

Deathbed Phenomena – Study in Irish Hospices

‘Deathbed phenomena can be described as a range of transcendental experiences, perceptions and events that can occur close to the time of death…’

In THIS article in today’s Irish Medical Times Dr Una MacConville of the Centre for Death & Society at the University of Bath and Dr Regina Mc Quillan, palliative Medicine Consultant, present some of the findings and insights of their research into Deathbed Phenomena (DBP) in an Irish Hospice setting. Findings indicate a contrasting reaction to DBP in Irish hopsices in comparison to those outlined by similar studies in the UK. 

Dr MacConville & Dr Mc Quillan are continuing research in this area with an Irish Hospice Foundation funded study into healthcare professionals experiences of such phenomena in a variety of palliative and end-of-life environments.

Music Therapy at end of life – Cochrane Review article

Creative therapies are increasingly being employed by Hospices to ease physical, psychological and emotional symptoms at end of life.

THIS Cochrane review article examines the effectiveness of Music Therapy with  hospice patients with the objective of indicating benefits of treatment approaches incorporating music therapy versus traditional treatment. The study illustrates the limited amount of data on the outcomes of music therapy and highlights the need for further research on creative arts therapies in end-of-life care.