Taoiseach opens new dedicated family room at Mayo General Hospital Enda Kenny announces €500,000 in grants to transform spaces for those nearing end of life in hospitals Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny T.D, today (Monday October 20th) announced the distribution of grants of €500,000 towards transforming spaces in hospitals for people at end of life. Mr Kenny announced the funding at the official opening of a new family room at Mayo General Hospital-Saolta University Health Care Group in Castlebar. The family room was funded under the Design & Dignity Grants scheme which is operated and co-funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation, (IHF) and the Health Service Executive, (HSE). Every year 30,000 people in Ireland die, and 43% pass away in acute hospitals. The project aims to transform the way hospital spaces are designed for people at the end of life, and to set the standard for other hospitals to follow. To date 11 projects have been funded across the country under the Design & Dignity scheme at a cost of €1.5m. The second round of grants of €500,000 will help fund up to 13 new projects and work will include re-designing viewing rooms, upgrading mortuaries and providing space where bad news can be broken sensitively. The list of hospitals who will avail of the new grants is currently being finalised but Portiuncula Hospital--Saolta University Health Care Group in Ballinasloe, Co Galway and The Mater in Dublin, will be amongst the beneficiaries. The new family room in Mayo General Hospital provides an area where relatives and friends of a patient receiving end of life care can gather. Providing an oasis of calm it incorporates a kitchenette, eating and living space in a homely environment. The room can also be used for overnight accommodation. The project also includes the building of a new welcoming reception area with a back room for private conversations and a new multidisciplinary area with a large window to allow natural light to spill onto a previously long, dark ward. Mary Lovegrove, manager of the Design & Dignity project commented: “‘The Design & Dignity Fund aims to bring design excellence to hospitals where so many people spend the last days of their lives. This project in Mayo General Hospital is an excellent example of how peaceful, uplifting environments can be created in a busy acute hospital. Our congratulations are extended to all who worked on this project. It is wonderful to see it come to fruition and I’m sure these new spaces will be a source of support for families in Mayo and the surrounding areas for years to come.” Justin Kerr, Assistant Director of Nursing and Chair of the End of Life Care Committee adds “The opening of the family room demonstrates the commitment of Mayo General Hospital in the pursuit of implementing the Quality Standards for End of Life Care and to improve the experience of patients and families at this very difficult time”. The equipping and furnishing of this room was made possible by the generous support from local fundraisers and the Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation. Also at the opening were Dr John Killeen, interim Chair, Saolta University Health Care Group; Mr Charlie Meehan, General Manager, Mayo Hospital, and Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation.