A bereaved woman told the Ombudsman that she was upset and confused when a doctor told her that he did not know when her husband’s “demise would be”.
The case is one of a number of complaints highlighted by Ombudsman Peter Tyndall in a progress report on developments in end-of-life care in Irish hospitals.
The report is a follow-up to his 2014 report which described some of the issues raised in complaints.
Mr Tyndall said there had been “considerable progress” in the provision of end of life care in recent years but that more work needed to be done.
However, there are still some aspects of services that require attention and I look forward to seeing these addressed so that we can, as far as is possible, ensure that people dying in Ireland can do so with dignity, without pain and surrounded by their loved ones,” he said.
Despite the progress, Mr Tyndall said his office continues to receive complaints. In one case a family was told that their father’s condition was “incompatible with life”, while in another case, a staff member told the complainant that her father was found “pulseless”.
“It is clear, therefore, that ongoing training must be available to support and guide clinical staff when bad news must be shared with patients and their families,” said the report.