Press Release

Minister Harney announces funding for Design and Dignity Challenge Fund.

The Minister for Health and Children , Mary Harney TD, today ( Monday November 8th, 2010) announced funding of €750,000 for the Design and Dignity Challenge Fund.

The Design and Dignity Grants Scheme arises from the Hospice Friendly Hospital Programme (HFH), which commenced as a pilot project in 2004 at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda to examine how a comprehensive approach could be developed to change the culture of care and organisation regarding dying, death and bereavement in hospitals.

The Programme is an initiative of the Irish Hospice Foundation, and is primarily supported by Atlantic Philanthropies and the HSE.

The Minister said “I am very pleased to make available National Lottery funding of €250,000 from my Department to the Irish Hospice Foundation towards this new Fund with a further €500,000 being made available from the HSE to develop this Initiative over 2011. This fundingwhich will be met by matching funding by the Irish Hospice Foundation, will progress the aims of the Fund into the future”.

One of the first actions of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme was to review, the physical environment of 20 hospitals – 15 acute and 5 community. A Working Group was established with the involvement of the HSE to develop ‘Design and Dignity Guidelines for the Physical Environment of Hospitals Providing End-of-Life Care’.

The Design and Dignity Challenge Fund aims to assist projects which are designed to enhance the dignity of people who die in Irish hospitals.

Speaking today at the launch today, the Minister said“The difference that appropriate care at end-of-life can make to patients, their families and friends is immense. The provision of high quality care is paramount. I welcome the Design and Dignity Challenge Fund initiative. As many people will inevitably die in hospital it is important to ensure that the facilities, procedures, policies and staffing are arranged in ways that respect the needs of patients and their families at this most difficult time. This initiative will compliment the significant advances that have taken place in recent years in relation to end-of-life care generally”.