€200k mortuary revamp to enhance dignity of patients and bereaved

The mortuary at a busy city hospital has undergone a €200,000 revamp to enhance the dignity for deceased patients and their grieving families.

The facility at Cork’s Mercy University Hospital, which was officially opened yesterday, has two viewing areas which will allow relatives spend time with their loved ones in a peaceful sanctuary away from the rest of the hospital activities.

The bereaved families of the estimated 300 people who die at the Mercy every year will have a special sheltered space for reflection, with a bench, a water fountain, and shrubbery outside the mortuary building.

For the first time, religious services such as removals will be able to take place from the upgraded facility.

The hospital has also trained staff in the latest end-of-life care and communication techniques, introduced new bed sheets for patients who are close to death, new drapes which are placed over patients who have died, and specially-designed hand-over bags to return deceased patients’ property to their families.

The mortuary is the first of four mortuary revamps to be completed thanks to a €1.5m national grant scheme, launched by the HSE and the Irish Hospice Foundation in Oct 2010.

The Design and Dignity Grants scheme is funding upgrades to 11 end-of-life care facilities at hospitalsin Dublin, Sligo, Limerick, Meath, Tipperary, Mayo, and Kilkenny, all of which should be completed by December.

Some of the other projects include the development of infant viewing rooms, a bereavement room on a maternity ward, family rooms in wards, and a viewing room in an emergency department.

Mercy chief executive Sandra Daly described the development as another important step towards improving the standard of care for patients who die in the hospital, and said she hopes it will serve as a national example for future developments in end-of-life care facilities.


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