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No chaplains available in certain situations at CHI Temple Street since July

There has been no chaplain to provide support to families during certain time periods in the event of the death of a child at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Temple Street since July 2019, the Medical Independent (MI) can report.

Issues regarding the hospital’s chaplaincy service were raised at meetings of the hospital’s executive committee in September, minutes of which have been seen by MI following a Freedom of Information request. The hospital currently has 2.6 WTE chaplains.

“Since July 2019, if a child dies: In our hospital; before reaching hospital; or in the emergency department following arrival in our hospital ‘out-of-hours’, ie, during the evening or overnight (Monday to Friday) and during the afternoon, evening or overnight (Saturday and Sunday), there is no chaplain to take over care of the family,” a hospital spokesperson told MI.

“In the absence of a chaplain it’s an additional service provided by the nursing staff and if appropriate they accompany the family to the mortuary and support them in their early stage of grief, support them to leave the hospital safely and advise them regarding the planning of a funeral/burial service.

“With fewer nursing staff ‘out-of-hours’ than during the day, this brings a very sensitive and particular set off difficulties for nursing staff wanting to support grieving families, whilst trying to provide essential and time sensitive care to others in the emergency department/ICU/ward area where a death has occurred.

“As chaplains have retired or moved out of the service for other reasons including the significant ‘out-of-hours’
commitment, we have been unable to recruit replacement chaplaincy staff.”

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