Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Celebrating 40 Years of Hospice Care

Hospice of Southern Illinois, The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), and hospices across the United States are celebrating 40 years of hard work to make hospice care a success in the United States! The word hospice is derived from the word “hospitality,” which is a place of shelter for weary or ill travelers on a long journey. The development of hospice care has been its own journey, one that strong leadership, determination and volunteerism has allowed end-of-life care to flourish.

Physician Dame Cicely Saunders began her work with the terminally ill in 1948, and later established the first modern hospice in London, St. Christopher’s Hospice. In 1963, she brought the idea of hospice to the United States as a request from Florence Wald, the dean of the Yale School of Nursing. Wald became inspired to travel and learn the benefits of hospice care, eventually starting the first U.S program, Connecticut Hospice, in Bradford in 1974. Her work began a revolution of end-of-life care with facilities spreading throughout the United States.

After talking to two employees at Hospice of Southern Illinois, they expressed, “Hospice is important because it brings opportunities for closure for spiritual, emotional, and
physical comfort for patients and their families,” explains Roberta Baldwin, Intake Nurse. Lisa Phillipson, Community Education Manager, added, “Hospice education is important because it spreads awareness. You may not have a lot of knowledge about hospice care. We are helping with emotional and physical pain of our patients and families and educating the community on what comes next with end-of-life care. When you know what is next, things don’t seem quite as scary. At the end of the day when we have done our job right, the patients and families can breathe a sigh of relief and worry about being a family or friend, while we take care of their loved one.”