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New family room at Sligo Hospital

The newly developed family room ‘Seomra Teallaigh’ located in Medical 7 ward at Sligo University Hospital has been officially opened by hospital chaplain Fr. John Carroll.

Funded through the Irish Hospice Foundation’s (IHF) Design and Dignity Programme, the HSE and local support, the family room is a beautiful serene space in the midst of a very busy acute Medical ward catering for stroke and frail elderly patients. The room will provide family members with a peaceful and restful space. The room can accommodate up to twelve people comfortably and can facilitate overnight stays. It includes a kitchenette, armchairs, kitchen table and chairs. The family room is beautifully finished with exquisite original paintings by one of Ireland’s pre-eminent romantic landscape painters, the late Sean McSweeney in unification with the Model Art Gallery in Sligo.

Sligo University Hospital is one of over forty 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.

Ann Hayes, Development Coordinator for End of Life Care, Sligo University Hospital explains, “We wanted to create a dignified comfortable space away from the clinical environment that was welcoming and homely for families and friends. This new space will help in practical ways, for example in minimising travel and accommodation costs at a time when families have more important things to think about. The most important thing for all of us at Sligo University Hospital is to continue to improve the family experience by demonstrating true care and compassion at a time when it is needed most.”

Grainne McCann, General Manager, Sligo University Hospital said, “We are pleased to open this new facility which will provide an opportunity for families to spend time together in a calmer and quieter environment at a very difficult time. The room is designed to give families a private and comforting space where loved ones can all be together.”

Fr. John Carroll stated, “Almost everyone knows from personal experience how the illness of a loved one can impact on a family. This new family room ‘Seomra Teallaigh’ offers a quiet family friendly space where relatives can get some rest, share their anxieties and concerns, share stories and just spend time together as a family.”

The family of the late Maureen Mullen conveyed, “As a family coming to terms with our mother’s Illness, the family room was invaluable to us. It enabled us to have the privacy we needed.  In this room we eat, rested and chatted with friends and family, we laughed and cried there. In the family Room it was like Home from Home for the 2 weeks our mum was in hospital and gave us quality time to spend with her. Without this room we would not have been able to spend so much time in the Hospital and remembering those precious days is what is going to help us to get through the loss of our mum.”

Mary Lovegrove, Design and Dignity Project Manager, Irish Hospice Foundation said, “Design and Dignity brings design excellence to hospitals where so many people spend their last days.  We’re aiming to create sanctuaries for patients and families at a very distressing time, and allow them the proper space and privacy they need. Thanks to the leadership and support of the HSE we have funded over forty hospitals projects across Ireland to date.”

The hospital project team consisted of Maura Heffernan, Assistant Director of Nursing,  Medical Directorate; Caitriona Gaffney, Clinical Nurse Manager; Michelle McMorrow, Clinical Nurse Manager; Ann Hayes, Development Coordinator for End of Life Care; Austin Lyons, HSE estates; Rathigan Architects, Sligo and General Management personnel. The team was also supported by Mr Ronan Rose Roberts, Architect.

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