RTÉ’s Michael Lyster Officially Opens new Family Room in Portiuncula Hospital


RTÉ Sports Broadcaster, Michael Lyster officially opened ‘Slí An Chroí’ Family Room in Portiuncula University Hospital, Ballinasloe recently.

The family room will provide a dedicated space for families of patients who are at end of life.

The facility, will allow families a private space away from the ward to relax and take some time out during this difficult time. The work was carried out with the support of a grant of €30,600 from the Design and Dignity Scheme of The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and also the Health Services Executive (HSE). The scheme aims to transform the way hospital spaces are designed for people at end of life.

Portiuncula University Hospital, Ballinasloe is one of over 40 hospitals in Ireland linked to the Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) Programme. The HFH Programme is an initiative of the Irish Hospice Foundation. It seeks to ensure that palliative, end of life and bereavement care are central to the everyday business of hospitals. The HFH Programme in Portiuncula Hospital was officially launched at today’s event also. Ensuring patients and families have access to family rooms and private spaces is central to the ethos of the HFH Programme.

Staff in Portiuncula University Hospital identified the need to improve the private space that was available for families to gather and rest when their loved one is at end of life. The much improved family room provides a space to rest and make refreshments in a space that is homely and welcoming .

A spokesperson for the project team stated that, “The new family room provides a quiet, relaxing space that will be of overwhelming benefit to families and will lead to a huge improvement in the culture of the hospital regarding end-of-life care for patients.”

James Keane, General Manager, Portiuncula University Hospital said, “Today we are pleased to open a new facility that will offer some comfort to families when they need us most. Portiuncula University Hospital is committed to improving end-of-life care and we aim to ensure that patients and families who are with us during their final journey will have a peaceful and dignified experience.”

Sharon Foley, CEO of The IHF, commented: “Every year 28,000 people in Ireland die and 43% die in acute hospitals. The Design & Dignity scheme aims to bring design excellence to hospitals where so many people spend their last days. This facility in Portiuncula University Hospital is a sanctuary for families at a very distressing time and will allow them the proper space and privacy they need. I’d like to commend the staff for their vision and commitment to making end of life care a priority.”

To date 20 projects have been funded across the country under the Design & Dignity scheme at a cost of €2m.