The History of Hospice Care

The founding of the modern hospice​

Table of Contents

St. Christopher's Hospice

The concept of hospice care, or the provision of care and comfort to terminally ill individuals and their families, has a long history. The modern hospice movement, however, began in the 1950s with the work of Dr. Cicely Saunders in London. Dr. Saunders was a nurse, social worker, and physician who was deeply committed to improving the care and support provided to people who were facing terminal illness. In 1948, she began working with terminally ill patients at St. Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, England, where she developed the concept of “total pain management” to address not just the physical suffering of her patients, but also their emotional, social, and spiritual needs.

In 1967 Dr. Saunders opened the first modern hospice, St. Christopher’s Hospice, in London. The hospice provided medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support for people who were terminally ill. It also provided support for their families.

St. Christopher’s Hospice was founded on the principles of providing medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support for people who were terminally ill. It also provided support for their families. The hospice was innovative in its approach to care and became a model for other hospices around the world. It continues to operate today as a leader in hospice and palliative care.

The hospice movement quickly spread to other countries, and hospices began to be established in the United States in the 1970s. Today, hospice care is provided in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and patients’ homes. It is often provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers.

Who was Dame Cicely Saunders?

Dame Cicely Saunders was a British nurse, social worker, and physician who is widely considered the founder of the modern hospice movement. She was born in 1918 and received her nursing training at King’s College Hospital in London. After working as a nurse and a social worker, she decided to pursue a medical degree, and in 1957 she became the first person to be awarded a degree in the specialty of palliative medicine.

Throughout her career, Saunders was deeply committed to improving the care and support provided to people who were facing terminal illness. In 1948, she began working with terminally ill patients at St. Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, England, where she developed the concept of “total pain management” to address not just the physical suffering of her patients, but also their emotional, social, and spiritual needs. In 1967, she founded St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, which was the first modern hospice to provide comprehensive palliative care to terminally ill patients.

Saunders’ work revolutionized the way that terminally ill individuals were cared for, and she is credited with establishing the hospice movement as a global force for improving end-of-life care. She received seaveral awards and honors throughout her career, including a damehood in 1980 in recognition of her contributions to medicine. She passed away in 2005, but her legacy continues to inspire and influence the hospice movement around the world.

Connecticut Hospice in Branford, Connecticut

Connecticut Hospice, located in Branford, Connecticut, is an organization that provides hospice and palliative care to people with serious or terminal illnesses. It was founded in 1974 and was the first hospice in the United States. Connecticut Hospice is known for its pioneering work in the hospice movement and has been a leader in the development of hospice care in the United States.

Connecticut Hospice provides care to patients in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and patients’ homes. It offers medical, emotional, and spiritual support to patients and their families. The hospice also provides grief counseling and support for survivors. Connecticut Hospice is accredited by the Joint Commission and is a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Publication of On Death and Dying

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was a Swiss-American psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of palliative care and end-of-life care. In 1969, she published the book “On Death and Dying,” which is considered a classic in the field.

In the book, Kubler-Ross introduced the concept of the “five stages of grief,” which are often referred to as the “Kubler-Ross model.” These stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The model suggests that people go through these stages as they come to terms with their own mortality or the loss of a loved one.

Kubler-Ross’s book had a significant impact on the way that death and dying were understood and approached. It helped to destigmatize the discussion of death and encouraged people to consider their own end-of-life preferences. It also helped to spur the development of hospice and palliative care as a specialized field of healthcare.

The role the HIV/AIDS epidemic had in making hospice more available

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s was a significant factor in the growth and expansion of hospice care in the United States. As the HIV/AIDS epidemic swept the country, many people with HIV/AIDS found themselves needing end-of-life care, and hospices were often the best option to provide this care.

During this time, hospices played a critical role in providing care and support to people with HIV/AIDS and their families. Many hospices were able to provide specialized care and support to people with HIV/AIDS, including pain and symptom management, emotional support, and spiritual care.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic also helped to bring hospice care more into the mainstream and to increase public awareness of the importance of end-of-life care. As more people with HIV/AIDS turned to hospices for care, the public began to see hospice care as a legitimate and important option for end-of-life care.

Today, hospices continue to play an important role in the care of people with HIV/AIDS and other terminal illnesses, and hospice care is widely recognized as an important option for end-of-life care in the United States.

The Hospice Care Demonstration Program

The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was a United States government agency that was responsible for administering the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In the 1980s, the HCFA initiated demonstration programs at 26 hospices in order to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of hospice care.

These demonstration programs were conducted in order to assess the feasibility of providing hospice care to patients who were covered by Medicare, which is a federally funded healthcare program for people who are 65 years or older or who have certain disabilities. The demonstration programs were successful in demonstrating the benefits of hospice care, and as a result, the HCFA began to cover hospice care for Medicare beneficiaries in 1982.

Today, hospice care is covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans. It is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers, and is focused on providing comfort and support to people who are nearing the end of life.

How hospice care become a medicare benefit?

Hospice care became a Medicare benefit in 1982 when the Medicare Hospice Benefit was established. The Medicare Hospice Benefit provides reimbursement for hospice care to Medicare beneficiaries.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit was established as part of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA). Prior to the establishment of the Medicare Hospice Benefit, hospice care was not covered by Medicare, and many people were unable to access hospice care because they could not afford it.

The establishment of the Medicare Hospice Benefit helped to make hospice care more widely available and more financially accessible to people in the United States. It also helped to increase the recognition of hospice care as an important option for end-of-life care and to bring hospice care more into the mainstream.

Today, the Medicare Hospice Benefit is an established part of the Medicare program and is widely used by people who are in the final stages of a terminal illness and their families. It provides important support and financial assistance to help people access the care and support they need at the end of their lives.

President Reagan signs Medicare Hospice Benefit into law

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed the Medicare Hospice Benefit into law, which provided Medicare coverage for hospice care. Prior to the passage of this law, hospice care was not covered by Medicare and was only available to a small number of people who could afford to pay for it out of pocket.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit was created in response to the success of demonstration programs that had been conducted by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) in the 1980s. These programs demonstrated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of hospice care and helped to pave the way for the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers hospice care for people who are covered by Medicare and have a terminal illness, as well as their families. It is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers, and is focused on providing comfort and support rather than trying to cure the person’s illness. The benefit is available in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and patients’ homes.

President Clinton’s health care reform proposal

In 1993, President Bill Clinton proposed a comprehensive health care reform plan that included a provision for hospice care. Under the proposal, the Medicare Hospice Benefit, which had been established in 1982, would have been expanded to cover more people and to provide additional services.

The health care reform proposal also called for the creation of a new benefit for palliative care, which is a type of care that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of serious illness. Palliative care is often provided alongside curative treatment and is designed to improve the quality of life for people with serious or terminal illnesses.

Unfortunately, President Clinton’s health care reform proposal was not enacted into law. However, the Medicare Hospice Benefit has continued to evolve and has been expanded over time to cover a wider range of services and to serve more people. Today, hospice and palliative care are recognized as important components of the healthcare system and are covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans.

Growing end-of-life movement

The end-of-life movement refers to a movement that advocates for improving the quality of care and support for people who are nearing the end of life. This movement has grown in response to the increasing awareness of the need to address the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people who are facing terminal illness.

The end-of-life movement includes a wide range of organizations and individuals who are working to improve end-of-life care, including hospice and palliative care providers, healthcare professionals, researchers, and advocates. Some of the key issues that the end-of-life movement addresses include:

  • Improving access to hospice and palliative care: Many people do not have access to hospice and palliative care, either because it is not available in their community or because they do not know it exists. The end-of-life movement is working to increase access to these services and to educate people about their options.

  • Promoting patient choice: The end-of-life movement emphasizes the importance of giving patients and their families the ability to make informed decisions about their care and to choose the type of care that best meets their needs.

  • Reducing unnecessary suffering: The end-of-life movement is working to reduce unnecessary suffering for people who are facing terminal illness by improving pain management and addressing other physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Overall, the end-of-life movement is focused on improving the quality of care and support for people who are nearing the end of life and their families.

Inaugural World Hospice Day

The World Day for Palliative Care is an annual event that was established in 2006 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC). The inaugural World Day was held on October 1, 2006, and the event is held on the same day each year.

The World Day for Palliative Care is designed to focus global attention on the importance of hospice and palliative care and to raise awareness about the need for these services. It is an opportunity for people around the world to come together and advocate for improved access to hospice and palliative care and to promote the principles of palliative care.

Hospice and palliative care are specialized medical care and support services that focus on providing comfort and support to people who are facing serious or terminal illness. These services aim to improve the quality of life for patients and their families by addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The World Day for Palliative Care is an opportunity to recognize the important role that hospice and palliative care play in supporting people who are facing serious illness and to advocate for their availability to all who need them.

Dame Cecily Saunders dies from cancer at St. Christopher’s

Dame Cicely Saunders was diagnosed with cancer in the late 1980s and received hospice care at St. Christopher’s Hospice. She died at the hospice on July 14, 2005, at the age of 87.

Saunders’ work had a significant impact on the field of hospice and palliative care and helped to improve the quality of care and support for people who are facing terminal illness. She is remembered as a pioneer in the field and an advocate for the rights of people diagnosed with a terminal illness.