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