New room for families of end-of-life patients at Ennis hospital

New room for families of end-of-life patients at Ennis hospital


Photo: Brian Arthur

A family room for relatives of patients who are at or near the end of life has been officially opened at Ennis General Hospital.

The Oak Room was officially opened this after by Dr Michael Harty TD and Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group.

Of the approximately 30,000 deaths in Ireland every year, more than two in five occur in acute hospitals. And UL Hospitals Group is working with the HSE nationally and with partners such as the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) to further improve palliative and end-of-life care in its hospitals.

Speaking at the opening of the Oak Room, Dr Harty said: “This facility is a very welcome and necessary innovation in the compassionate care for patients and their families when end of life approaches. In a caring society we must recognise that  emotional and human caring is as important as the medical and physical caring that we all expect in our medical institutions. End of life caring is becoming a recognised discipline in its own right and is essential for a holistic approach to healthcare provision.”

The Oak Room was developed at Ennis with the help of a €50,000 capital investment from the HSE. It is located near the new pharmacy and physiotherapy departments and forms part of the wider phased redevelopment of the old hospital building.

Current works in Ennis involve the realignment of corridors on the ground and first floors and the provision of a new bereavement viewing room – supported by the IHF – across the corridor from the Oak Room.

Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said: “In healthcare today, there is understandably much focus on scientific advances and technological innovation; on improving our quality and governance structures; on maximising the huge potential of ICT; in developing more effective systems and so on. What must unite the pursuit of excellence in all these arenas is that they remain focused on the patient. What patients and families want and expect from us perhaps most of all is compassionate care at all stages of life, including that stage of life where science and medicine reach their limits.

Doris Liddy, CNM2 and Chair of the End-of-Life Committee, Ennis Hospital, said: “The feedback from families since the opening of the Oak Room has been hugely positive. Before we had it, relatives would stay at the bedside and sleep in a chair with staff coming and going, which was not ideal to say the least. Now they have an ensuite room where they can stay overnight and where they can go if they need some peace or some time to reflect.”


Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.