The Complete Ethical Framework for End-of-Life Care

The Ethical Framework for End-of-life Care is part of a national programme, the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme (HfH) of the Irish Hospice Foundation, which is intended to improve the culture of care and organization regarding dying, death and bereavement in Irish hospitals. The Framework is an educational resource that consists of eight Modules of Learning for health professionals, patients, families and the general public. The Framework is the outcome of a unique collaboration between University College Cork, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Irish Hospice Foundation, with contributions from ethicists, legal experts, theologians, sociologists and clinicians. It draws on a range of values and principles that have been identified as important considerations in end-oflife decision making by international experts in bioethics and by professional codes of conduct, policy documents and laws. It is also informed by extensive international research on patients’ and families’ experiences of death and dying and the contribution of health professionals and organizations to quality end-of-life care. In order to ensure that the Framework addresses the concerns of the Irish public and that it is relevant and useful to the work of health professionals involved in end-of-life care in Irish hospitals, the Framework is informed by reviews and studies involving hospice, palliative and acute care services especially commissioned by the Irish Hospice Foundation in the last decade. It also draws on a significant body of research, undertaken in 2007/2008, which specifically addresses ethical issues in relation to end-of-life care in Irish hospitals.