Irish Hospice Foundation announces new online info HUB on funerals and grieving during COVID-19



The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has today announced the launch of a new Care and Inform online hub to provide accurate information around funerals and grieving during the COVID-19 crisis.

The online resource available at provides reliable and up to date information in the areas of end-of-life and bereavement care in these exceptional times. The hub is line with HSE and Government guidance practices and will be continually updated. Currently people cannot gather in one location in large groups for funerals, while people also can’t receive the company of people who wish to extend their condolences.

The IHF Care & Inform hub resource includes information on:

  • Planning Funerals in Exceptional Times 
    • Advice for the immediate family on arranging funerals (both COVID-19 and non COVID-19)
    • Ideas for wider friends and family who would in normal circumstances have supported them by attending funerals or wakes on how they can support them and show that they care.
  • Grieving in Exceptional Times
    • Acknowledging and coping with grief of a COVID-19 death
    • Supporting individuals who are grieving during this period of physical isolation. In the case of COVID-19 deaths this will address some of the particular aspects including not being able to be with a loved one while they were dying, and the impact of measures taken to avoid infection
    • Resources on how friends and family can help people who are grieving – this also includes specific resources for supporting children and young people.
  • Thinking ahead
    • This health crisis has increased the number of conversations in Irish society about death, dying and bereavement. The IHF Care and Inform hub provides the information needed for realistic and informed conversations and provides people with resources to think ahead should they wish to do so.

Speaking about the IHF Care & Inform series, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation Sharon Foley said: “This is a very overwhelming and upsetting time for us all, but for those facing death and grieving it is particularly difficult. The COVID-19 restrictions on physical distancing and cocooning mean our traditional ways of grieving and showing our respects are no longer possible. We hope this new information hub will provide clear information for people so they can support themselves and others as we try and find new ways to navigate grief and loss in this extremely uncertain time .”

The IHF is also developing a bereavement telephone helpline. This has been developed in conjunction with the HSE and it will be live in two weeks (by Tuesday April 21) Contact telephone numbers and hours of operation will follow.

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF)

The IHF work towards the best end-of-life and bereavement care for all. They campaign to make excellence in hospice practices, bereavement and end-of-life care a national priority and to stimulate the conversation about dying and bereavement in Ireland. Over the more than 30 years the IHF has been in existence years the concept of a hospice has evolved from being about care provided in a place –‘the hospice’ – to being about attitudes and the type of care – physical, emotional and spiritual – delivered to where it is needed. Given that specialist palliative care is now excellently provided by the voluntary hospice movement and the HSE, the main focus of the IHF in recent years has been on end-of-life and bereavement care for the 93% of people who die outside hospices –in Hospitals (40%) at home (25%) and in nursing homes (23%).

IHF flagship initiatives include:

  • The Hospice-Friendly Hospitals Programme (HfH), which improves the experiences of patients and their families in acute hospitals. Nationwide, there are currently 48 hospitals engaged with the HfH programme, which is now strongly embedded within the HSE.
  • The Design & Dignity programme, in partnership with the HSE, which aims to transform the way that hospital spaces are designed for people and their families at the end-of-life.
  • Leading the development of the National Children’s Palliative Care Programme and founding and hosting the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network, (co-funded by Tusla).
  • Development of a range of bereavement support services for health- and social-care professionals, including two postgraduate programmes in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as well as a training and support programme focusing on grief in the workplace.
  • Nurses for Night Care, a free national service, in partnership with the Irish Cancer Society, for people with illnesses other than cancer.
  • Public engagement: The People’s Charter on Dying, Death and Bereavement in Ireland, gathered the views of 2,600 Irish people on how they wish to talk about, prepare and live with death and bereavement. Our Think Ahead resource helps people consider and record their end-of-life preferences. Our annual Living with Loss public events on bereavement provide information about grief and the range of supports available to bereaved people. We also host the biennial Forum on End-of-Life in Ireland, a national conference about dying, death, and bereavement issues.


Irish Hospice Care & Inform 

As Ireland’s only national charity dedicated to death, dying and bereavement, we have developed our Care & Inform Series to respond to the COVID-19 emergency in an informative and compassionate way. All of our information is in line with current HSE and Government guidance. The IHF Care & Inform series includes a range of information resources and videos focusing on the themes of Grief, Funerals in Exceptional Times, Planning Ahead and a suite of Resources for Healthcare Professionals to support and guide all who need it during this time. It is updated continually.


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