Mercy University Hospital Cork introduces Kids Packs to support families in the midst of End of Life Care

In today’s society, death has largely been removed from the home, with over three quarters of deaths happening in a healthcare setting. The death of a family member or someone close affects many aspects of a child or young person’s life; and adults may question whether children should be visiting someone dying in hospital, out of concern for the child’s wellbeing. 

It is important for healthcare professionals to consider any child who may be affected by the death of a loved one and to engage with the family. The Mercy University hospital recognises the importance of including children when someone close is dying and have introduced new Kids Packs for children of families who find themselves in this difficult situation.

Each Kids Pack, funded by the Mercy University Hospital Foundation, comes in a string tote bag and contains an age-appropriate colouring book or notebook, colours, an age appropriate toy, and individual coloured sheets which they may decide to use for drawing, hand prints, making cards, or writing a letter.

Edel O’Neill, End of Life Care Coordinator at Mercy University Hospital explained Children often struggle to know how to interact with someone who is dying. With the introduction of these age-appropriate Kids Packs our aim is to make the child feel comfortable in an unfamiliar situation and the hospital environment.

Talking to children about death is never easy, however children may handle grief better when adults around them receive support. Our aim is to support adults providing the option for children to visit a loved one dying at The Mercy, by creating a safe environment for children to be present and comfortable. What really matters is the child’s experience and how they make sense of what is happening, and providing a memory for children to grow up knowing that they have been included.”

To coincide with the introduction of the Kids Packs at Mercy University Hospital Cork, the hospital is hosting a Lunch and Learn series to support healthcare staff when communicating with children and young adults when someone close is dying at The Mercy.

For more information on the Mercy University Hospital Foundation, and the projects it funds, visit