Working Life: Mary Lovegrove, manager Design and Dignity project, Irish Hospice Foundation

Mary Lovegrove, manager Design and Dignity Project, The Irish Hospice Foundation


We have long fought the fight to persuade our children that morning begins at 7am but my typical day begins with a loud and proud announcement from our daughter that she has a jackpot in her nappy and now needs our assistance.

For the next hour or so it’s the usual morning mayhem, familiar to parents everywhere.


An early Dart into town gets you a seat. En route to the office, I stop by the Runner Bean for a coffee and free chocolate.


I arrive at the Irish Hospice Foundation. Despite the sobering nature of our work, there’s a great buzz and much laughter about the office. I manage a project called Design & Dignity which aims to transform end-of-life care in hospitals by improving the physical environment.

Thanks to the support of the HSE, we have over 30 projects nationwide. Our target is for every hospital in Ireland to have a Design & Dignity Project by 2021. We are also pushing for every mortuary to be upgraded.


Lunch. I work dangerously close to the shops so frequently head out for a sandwich only to come back with a top.


With our architect Ronan Rose Roberts, I head off on a site visit. Today it’s a hospital in Dublin.

We look at key areas which relate to end-of-life, including the emergency department, wards, ICU and the maternity unit.

We see how applying good design principles can radically improve end-of-life care for patients, and their families. Being out and about is one of the best aspects of my job.


I head towards the Dart, through Trinity, and call my Mum for the ‘any news?’ chat — always a highlight of my day.


I stop by the house to get the car to collect the kids and have a sneaky cup of tea, before heading home with Rob and Rachel, and sometimes my niece Amelia. If the household chores are out of the way, this time with them is golden.


My lovely husband arrives home, we get the kids to bed and make dinner together. This really is a small thing but it’s a very important part of my day.

I run mindfulness classes two nights a week. On other nights, I go to yoga and bootcamp or, better still, watch First Dates or some other equally highbrow programme on telly.


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