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Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese Officially Opens new Family Room and Refurbished Mortuary Viewing Room in Roscommon University Hospital

Author: Linda Pearson
23 November 2017

Former President of Ireland, Professor Mary McAleese has visited Roscommon University Hospital to officially open the Design and Dignity Family Room and Refurbished Mortuary Viewing Room.

The refurbishment of the family room and mortuary viewing room were funded under the Design and Dignity Grant Fund which is operated and co- funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

To date, the Design and Dignity Project has supported 34 projects around Ireland enabling hospitals to create relaxing spacious family rooms and upgraded mortuaries and ensure these facilities are welcoming, respectful environments.

Roscommon University Hospital is one of over 48 hospitals in Ireland linked to the Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) Programme.  The HFH Programme is an initiative of the Irish Hospice Foundation. It seeks to ensure that palliative, end of life and bereavement care are central to the everyday business of hospitals.

Geraldine Keane, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Palliative Care, Roscommon University Hospital explains, “The family room was initially part of a palliative care room funded by the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice Foundation. The Design and Dignity Grant Funding has now enabled us to develop a purpose-designed family room, which provides family members with a peaceful and restful space. The room can accommodate up to eight people comfortably and can facilitate overnight stays. It has a recessed kitchenette, private shower and bathroom facilities.

“The refurbishment of the mortuary has created a much more inviting space for families to congregate following the death of their loved one. The availability of this improved facility ensures that relatives have space and dignity during a very difficult time in their lives. The refurbished area creates a respectful, non-clinical environment, with a calm and soothing atmosphere. It has bespoke furniture, complete with soft lighting and comfortable seating. The stained glass sliding panels provide privacy, along with subdued natural light and a calm aesthetic.”

Mary Garvey, General Manager, Roscommon University Hospital said, “Families need a private dignified space during this most critical time. Today we are pleased to open two new facilities that will offer some comfort to families when they need it most. The completion of both projects, along with ongoing support from Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation and the Irish Hospice Foundation, ensure that a culture of care and respect for the dying and their families is embedded in Roscommon University Hospital.”

Sharon Foley CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation said: “We hope that this new beautiful family room and mortuary will be sanctuaries for families to be together in private at extremely difficult times in their lives and that these Design and Dignity projects will convey a sense of reverence and respect for life, death and bereavement.

“Our vision for Design and Dignity is for all hospitals to have beautifully designed family rooms and mortuaries - it’s wonderful to see Roscommon University Hospital leading the way with these two projects.”

Former President of Ireland, Professor Mary McAleese in her speech stated, “It’s a wonderful thing to be in a place where people have looked beyond the person into the interior, looked beyond the patient, looked beyond the immediate medical need, and ask what can we do? what is missing here? and you have done that here with such care and dignity.”

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