#HospiceWeek2023 – Stories From Palliative Care Specialists
Hospice care is a vital aspect of healthcare that provides specialized care for individuals who are nearing the end of their lives. It is a holistic approach that focuses on the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families. However, many people are unaware of the origins of hospice care and its impact on modern medicine. Here we explore the history of hospice care and how it all began with Dame Cicely Saunders.
Who Was Dame Cicely Saunders?
Dame Cicely Saunders was born on June 22, 1918, and is considered the founder of the modern hospice movement. She was a British nurse, social worker, and physician who devoted her life to improving end-of-life care. Her experiences in caring for terminally ill patients inspired her to create a new approach to end-of-life care that focused on improving the quality of life of patients and their families. In 1967, she founded St Christopher’s Hospice in London, the first modern hospice in the world.
The History of Hospice Care
Before hospice care, terminally ill patients were often treated in hospitals or nursing homes, where their physical symptoms were managed but their emotional and spiritual needs were often neglected. Dame Cicely Saunders recognized that end-of-life care should be more than just managing physical symptoms; it should be a comprehensive approach that addresses the unique needs on all levels of functioning of each patient and their family. She believed that dying patients deserved the same level of care and attention as those who were seeking a cure.
The hospice movement quickly spread throughout the world, and today there are thousands of hospice programs providing care for millions of patients and their families. Hospice care is now recognized as an essential component of healthcare, and its impact can be seen in the improved quality of life for terminally ill patients and their families.
The Importance of Celebrating Hospice Week
Hospice Week is an annual event that celebrates the contributions of hospice care and raises awareness about the importance of end-of-life care. It is an opportunity to honour the legacy of Dame Cicely Saunders and the countless healthcare professionals who have dedicated their lives to improving end-of-life care. This year, Hospice Week will take place from 07 – 13 May, and our theme is “Quality Care for All.“
Hospice care has come a long way since its inception, and it is important to recognize the contributions of those who have dedicated their lives and careers to improving end-of-life care. Dame Cicely Saunders’ vision has changed the face of end-of-life care. Helderberg Hospice pays tribute to Dame Saunders and the countless others who have made hospice their life’s work. Let’s celebrate Hospice Week together and continue to advocate for hospice care as an essential component of healthcare.