The History of Hospice

The History of Hospice

The History of Hospice

With time and the advance of medicine, death was transplanted to a new and often strange and intimidating environment: the modern hospital, where family members were merely guests and control rested with unknown health professionals.

In the mid-1960’s, a British physician named Dame Cicely Saunders who had been exploring ways to improve the dying process and bring awareness to the importance of patients as individuals founded St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, England, considered today as the first modern hospice.

In the United States, while acknowledging the many benefits of modern medicine, a group of clergy, healthcare workers and other thoughtful people began wondering in the 1970’s whether these advances, by depriving the natural dying process of its family ties, hadn’t also robbed it of its dignity. Out of these concerns, hospice care was born in the United States and the natural process of dying was returned to the home. The first hospice in America was opened in 1974.

Hospice has experienced extraordinary growth since then with more than 3,000 hospices now serving people in every state.

Bringing death out into the open and making sickness and loss of a loved one a time of sharing and remembrance is difficult. And while the hospice experience may not be for everyone, those who choose hospice find the unique caring for a loved one and the richness of sharing memories of youth, trials and joys a rewarding experience never to be forgotten

 

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