A Wish – New animated video from the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme

How do you achieve a good death in an acute hospital setting ?

Although most people want to spend their last days in their own home almost half (48%) of all deaths in Ireland occur in an acute hospital setting.

Bridging this gap between patient wishes and hospital practice in end-of-life care has been the aim of the Irish Hospice Foundation’s Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HfH) programme.

A Wish’, the new animated short film developed by the Hospice Friendly Hospitals poignantly illustrates just how this can be achieved and the small changes that can enable a good death even in a busy acute hospital environment.

The film was directed by Rebecca Lloyd and will be made available through the Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme later this year.

Starting the conversation about death & dying

This week (May 16th – 22nd) marks the second ‘Dying Matters awareness week’ in the UK. The week aims to put a spotlight on all aspects of death & dying and get people talking about everything from where they want to die to wills, legacies and their funeral arrangements.

Though the events to coincide with the awareness week all take place in the UK the Dying Matters site is worth a visit as its packed with useful resources and conversation starters all aimed at smashing the taboos around death and dying.

The resource material includes ‘Things to do before I die’, leaflets and flyers to get you thinking about how to plan for a good death. There are even specific resource materials for schools and for GP’s.

If that all seems a bit weighty you can start off with the ‘Dying for a laugh’ videos in which comedians share their feelings and experiences about death – they include Ardal O’ Hanlon recalling a uniquely Irish wake experience. For information on attitudes to death and dying in an Irish context have a look at the Irish Hospice Foundation’s Forum on End-of-life website. 

Europe-wide survey reveals priorities for end-of-life care

Europe-wide survey reveals priorities for end-of-life care.

A new study of end-of-life care preferences in the UK, the Netherlands, Belguim, Portugal, Spain and Italy conducted by Kings College London has revealed that for many the quality of their remaining time outweighs quantity of remaining years.

The study, conducted by EU funded PRISMA consortium (based in KCL) addressed peoples attitudes to issues around end-of-life care like dealing with pain, the buden of being cared for by a loved one and the value of extending life in cases of serious illness.

71% of the 9339 people surveyed indicated they would rather improve the quality of the life they had left with only 4% of respondents stating they would wish to extend life.  Professor Irene Higginson, head of PRISMA sees the findings as an indication that more emphasis needs to be placed on patients priorities for care at end-of-life.


Economist Intelligence Unit – Ranking of end-of-life care worldwide

A new report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by the Lien Foundation presents the findings of a global investigation into the quality of end-of-life care.

Using a ‘quality of death’ index nations have been ranked in relation to their end-of-life care provision with nations where palliative care has been integrated into the national healthcare agenda rating highest. The UK tops the ranking overall with Australia and New Zealand filling the number two and three positions. Ireland rates favourably, taking the number four position in overall ranking and number five for quality of death. Ireland is also noted among the nations with the highest levels of public debate about end of life care.

Among other relevant findings are the relationship between openness in communicating about death and the overall quality of palliative care. The economic benefits of an integrated approach to end-of-life care is also highlighted.

The full report can be downloaded HERE and further details of the Quality of Death Index can be found HERE

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   

Dying Matters Week UK

This week the UK Dying Matters Coalition will be encouraging people to get vocal about death & dying issues during their dying matters awareness week.

Dying matters is a coalition set up through the UK National Council for Palliative Care which aims to raise awareness,  bring about greater public knowledge and encourage dialogue on death and dying.   

The events during awareness week aim to get the subject of death and dying out into  the public space and encourage people to think about and start communicating their feelings about death, dying and bereavement. The coalition believes that death should not be a conversation killer and that discussing final wishes  and planning for the end empowers the dying and helps those left behind cope with bereavement. Further details of dying matters awareness week can be found HERE  as can a short film depicting the benefit of open communication about death.