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

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