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Bishop of Limerick opens new family room in St John’s Hospital

Author: Mary Ellen Breen
18 March 2016

New Family Room provides a dedicated space for families of patients who are dying.

Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy opened the Family Room in St John’s Hospital, Limerick, which will provide a dedicated space for families of patients who are dying.

The new facility, the first of its kind in the hospital, will allow families a private space away from the ward, to relax, get some sleep, shower, or make refreshments.

The work was carried out with the support of a grant of €24,397 from the Design and Dignity 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.

St John’s Hospital contributed €40,703 to support the creation of the Family Room.

Staff in St John’s Hospital identified a need for a private space for families to gather and rest when their loved one is at end of life. Previously families would congregate on the corridor and had to rely on ward staff to get them some refreshments.

The new family room provides overnight accommodation, a kitchenette, shower and toilet facilities in a space that is homely and welcoming.

Mr Fearghal Grimes, Chief Executive, St John’s Hospital said, “Through patient feedback we are more than aware that taking a break on the corridor when a loved one is dying is not the most appropriate for upset family members. The new family room provides a quiet, relaxing space that will be of overwhelming benefit to families and will lead to a huge improvement in the culture of the hospital regarding end of life care for patients.”

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. This new facility in St John’s Hospital is a sanctuary for families at a very distressing time and will allow them the proper space and privacy they need. I’d like to commend the staff for their vision and commitment to making end of life care a priority.”

To date 20 projects have been funded across the country under the Design & Dignity scheme at a cost of €2m.

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