The Design and Dignity programme of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) was established in 2010 to support the Hospice Friendly Hospitals initiative to improve the facilities and experiences of end-of-life-care in hospitals for patients and their loved ones. As 43% of deaths in Ireland occur in hospital the importance of this initiative can not be overstated. The Design and Dignity programme has led to the support of over forty projects to improve facilities across the Irish public health service since 2010.
A research team from University College Cork was successful in the bid to formally review the Design and dignity programme. The review team led by Dr Nicola Cornally and Dr Serena Fitzgerald from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at UCC involved many professionals involved in end-of-life-care and education. Among them was the Rev’d Dr Daniel Nuzum who contributed from a pastoral care perspective.
The evaluation process had two objectives:
- to assess the impact of evidence-based design from the perspectives of patients, families and staff specifically focussing on a) the impact on culture of care, b) the impact on the organisation of care, c) the design features of the new facilities and d) knock-on and unforeseen benefits/ challenges emerging from the projects and
- to determine likely factors contributing to the successful completion and maintenance of design and dignity spaces.
Eighteen of the completed forty projects were evaluated as part of the review process. The formal report was published and launched on Tuesday 26 March at the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.
Speaking about the project Dr Nuzum said:
The environment and overall culture surrounding end-of-life-care is hugely important for patients and their loved ones approaching their final days. The opportunity to be involved in this national research and review project with a multidisciplinary team was a tangible expression of the place of pastoral care as an integrated part of sensitive and respectful care in an increasingly spiritually and culturally diverse Ireland.
The full report can be accessed HERE.