New free Toolkit launched to support those delivering end-of-life care as COVID-19 continues to surge

Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has today launched a comprehensive Toolkit for Compassionate End-of-Life Care to enable our healthcare workers deliver compassionate care at end of life during this latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting people to die well in the circumstances now faced in health and residential care settings, is an enormous challenge. Infection control measures and strict visiting restrictions, although vital, mean the empathetic and high standards of end-of-life care that is the norm in these settings is being impacted.

Developed in consultation with healthcare staff in acute hospitals, residential care and nursing home settings, and those working in bereavement support and education, the Toolkit includes resources and guidance on subjects like communicating through PPE, care of the dying person, supporting the bereaved and self-care for staff.

Sharon Foley, CEO of IHF said, “The latest surge of COVID-19 is hitting hard and our frontline healthcare workers are under incredible strain. It’s an enormously demanding time for those caring for those facing the end of their lives in healthcare settings all over Ireland but they are going to extraordinary lengths to continue to deliver compassionate care for people and their families.”

“The aim of our Toolkit is that it can be used to support them in their everyday interactions with their patients, residents and family members to provide a compassionate, person-centred approach to end-of-life care. We hope all members of staff, regardless of their role, will be able to find value in this Toolkit. It has been designed so it can be read in its entirety from start to finish, or the reader can dip in and out of sections that are most relevant to them when they need them most.”

CEO of the HSE Paul Reid has welcomed the initiative saying, “The HSE is delighted that IHF has launched its new resource for health and social care professionals- Toolkit for Compassionate End-of-Life Care. Containing practical and helpful information on areas such as communication, family support and staff self-care, it’s easy to follow and navigate and an invaluable source of relevant information.”

IHF is a national charity that addresses dying, death and bereavement and runs a number of programmes to support healthcare staff in issues relating to end-of-life care, planning and bereavement.

Head of Healthcare Programmes at IHF is Siobán O’Brien Green. “We are constantly listening to and responding to the needs and concerns of healthcare workers by having relevant, timely and easy to navigate information easily available when it comes to end-of-life care. It’s more important than ever before as restrictions and other measures continue to evolve. Our new Toolkit can be used by the range of staff involved in end-of-life care to inform compassionate care, good communication and support people and their families at such a difficult time. It also lists useful resources and websites for staff to refer to as part of this hugely important work.”

The Toolkit for Compassionate End-of-Life Care is available to download for free here.

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