A community approach in Cavan General Hospital to support grieving families

During the very early stages of the COVID 19 pandemic, Fr. Gerry Kearns Hospital Chaplain in Cavan General Hospital, identified the benefits & need for a piece of work to be carried in how we communicate with the relatives of the patients who were ill with COVID-19 in a sensitive and empathetic manner. He felt we needed to recognise those families during this particularly difficult time in a special way, to help them through their grieving process due to having lost a loved one owing to the pandemic.

A collaborative piece of work was carried out by Su-Zann O’Callaghan, Lorraine Brady, Emma Magee, Fr. Gerry Kearns and Regina Donohoe to source these special cards that Fr. Gerry Kearns could use to record the thoughts of patients which could be passed on to their loved ones.

We approached local artists Jackie O’Neill & Nelius Flynn to help with our initiative and they graciously provided us with specially commissioned pieces of art to help produce these special cards.

The card initiative was also combined with a crochet heart initiative; whereby a crocheted heart would be left with the deceased and a corresponding crocheted heart would be given to the patients loved ones. The handmade crocheted hearts were lovingly made by the local community to help show the compassion and care given by our staff at Cavan General Hospital to the patients in the absence of their loved ones.

Fr. Gerry had kept a record of patients words and thoughts and Teresa Denneny, one of our receptionist here beautifully wrote the cards on Fr. Gerry’s behalf.

We hope these special pieces will be a comforting keepsake for the families of those patients who have suffered and passed on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fr. Gerry Kearns, Chaplain, Cavan General Hospital