Bradbury Hospice, the first dedicated hospice in Hong Kong

Hospice is a type of care and a philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's symptoms. These symptoms can be physical, emotional, spiritual or social in nature. The concept of hospice has been evolving since the 11th century. Then, and for centuries thereafter, hospices were places of hospitality for the sick, wounded, or dying, as well as those for travelers and pilgrims. The modern concept of hospice includes palliative care for the incurably ill given in such institutions as hospitals or nursing homes, but also care provided to those who would rather die in their own homes. It began to emerge in the 17th century, but many of the foundational principles by which modern hospice services operate were pioneered in the 1950s by Dame Cicely Saunders. Although the movement has met with some resistance, hospice has rapidly expanded through the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere.



Early development

Linguistically, the word "hospice" is derived from the Latin hospes, a word which served double-duty in referring both to guests and hosts.[1] The first hospices are believed to have originated in the 11th century, around 1065, when for the first time the incurably ill were permitted into places dedicated to treatment by Crusaders.[1][2] In the early 14th century, the order of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem opened the first hospice in Rhodes, meant to provide refuge for travelers and care for the ill and dying.[3] Hospices flourished in the Middle Ages, but languished as religious orders were dispersed.[1] They were revived in the 17th century in France by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.[3] France continued to see development in the hospice field; the hospice of L'Association des Dames du Calvaire, founded by Jeanne Garnier, opened in 1843.[4] Six other hospices followed before 1900.[4]

Meanwhile, hospices were established as well in other areas. In the United Kingdom, attention was drawn to the needs of the terminally ill in the middle of the 19th century, with Lancet and the British Medical Journal publishing articles pointing to the need of the impoverished terminally ill for good care and sanitary conditions.[5] Steps were taken to remedy inadequate facilities with the opening of the Friedenheim in London, which by 1892 offered 35 beds to patients dying of tuberculosis.[5] Four more hospices were established in London by 1905.[5] Australia, too, was seeing active hospice development, with notable hospices including the Home for Incurables in Adelaide (1879), the Home of Peace (1902) and the Anglican House of Peace for the Dying in Sydney (1907).[6] In 1899, New York City saw the opening of St. Rose's Hospice by the Servants for Relief of Incurable Cancer, who soon expanded with six locations in other cities.[4]

Among the more influential early developers of Hospice were the Irish Religious Sisters of Charity, who opened Our Lady's Hospice in Harold's Cross, Dublin, Ireland in 1879.[4] It proved to be very busy, with as many as 20,000 people—primarily suffering tuberculosis and cancer—coming to the hospice to die between 1845 and 1945.[4] The Sisters of Charity expanded internationally, opening the Sacred Heart Hospice for the Dying in Sydney in 1890, with hospices in Melbourne and New South Wales following in the 1930s.[7] In 1905, they opened St Joseph's Hospice in London.[3][8] It was there in the 1950s that Cicely Saunders developed many of the foundational principles of modern hospice care.[3]

Rise of the modern hospice movement

St Christopher's Hospice in 2005

(Dame) Cicely Saunders was a British registered nurse whose chronic health problems had forced her to pursue a career in medical social work. The relationship she developed with a dying Polish refugee helped solidify her ideas that terminally ill patients needed compassionate care to help address their fears and concerns as well as palliative comfort for physical symptoms.[9] After the refugee's death, Saunders began volunteering at St Luke's Home for the Dying Poor, where a physician told her that she could best influence the treatment of the terminally ill as a physician.[9] Saunders entered medical school while continuing her volunteer work at St. Joseph's. When she achieved her degree in 1957, she took a position there.[9]

Saunders emphasized focusing on the patient rather than the disease and introduced the notion of 'total pain',[10] which included psychological and spiritual as well as the physical aspects. She experimented with a wide range of opioids for controlling physical pain but included also the needs of the patient's family.

She disseminated her philosophy internationally in a series of tours of the United States that began in 1963.[11][12] In 1967, Saunders opened St. Christopher's Hospice. Florence Wald, the dean of Yale School of Nursing who had heard Saunders speak in America, spent a month working with Saunders there in 1969 before bringing the principles of modern hospice care back to the United States, establishing Hospice, Inc. in 1971.[3][13]

At about the same time that Saunders was disseminating her theories and developing her hospice, in 1965, Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross also began to consider the social responses to terminal illness, which she found inadequate at the Chicago hospital where her American physician husband was employed.[14] Her 1969 best-seller, On Death and Dying, was influential on how the medical profession responded to the terminally ill,[14] and along with Saunders and other thanatology pioneers helped to focus attention on the types of care available to them.[11]

Hospice care

Hospice Saint Vincent de Paul, Jerusalem

Hospice has faced resistance springing from various factors, including professional or cultural taboos against open communication about death among physicians or the wider population, discomfort with unfamiliar medical techniques, and professional callousness towards the terminally ill.[15] Nevertheless, the movement has, with national differences in focus and application, spread throughout the world.[16]

In 1984, Dr. Josefina Magno, who had been instrumental in forming the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and sat as first executive director of the US National Hospice Organization, founded the International Hospice Institute, which in 1996 became the International Hospice Institute and College and later the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC).[17][18] The IAHPC, with a board of directors as of 2008 from such diverse countries as Scotland, Argentina, Hong Kong and Uganda,[19] works from the philosophy that each country should develop a palliative care model based on its own resources and conditions, evaluating hospice experiences in other countries but adapting to their own needs.[20] Dr. Derek Doyle, who was a founding member of IAHPC, told the British Medical Journal in 2003 that through her work the Philippine-born Magno had seen "more than 8000 hospice and palliative services established in more than 100 countries."[18] Standards for Palliative and Hospice Care have been developed in a number of countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.[21]

In 2006, the United States based National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the United Kingdom's Help the Hospices jointly commissioned an independent, international study of worldwide palliative care practices. Their survey found that 15% of the world's countries offered widespread palliative care services with integration into major health care institutions, while an additional 35% offered some form of palliative care services, though these might be localized or very limited.[22] As of 2009, there were an estimated 10,000 programs internationally intended to provide palliative care, although the term hospice is not always employed to describe such services.[23]


1980 saw the opening of a hospice in Harare, Zimbabwe, the first in Sub-Saharan Africa.[24] In spite of skepticism in the medical community,[15] the hospice movement spread, and in 1987 the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa formed.[25] In 1990, Nairobi Hospice opened in Nairobi, Kenya.[25] As of 2006, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda were among the 35 countries of the world offering widespread, well-integrated palliative care.[25] Programs there are based on the United Kingdom model, but focus less on in-patient care, emphasizing home-based assistance.[26]

Since the foundation of hospice in Kenya in the early 1990s, palliative care has spread through the country. Representatives of Nairobi Hospice sit on the committee to develop a Health Sector Strategic Plan for the Ministry of Health and are working with the Ministry of Health to help develop specific palliative care guidelines for cervical cancer.[25] The Government of Kenya has supported hospice by donating land to Nairobi Hospice and providing funding to several of its nurses.[25]

In South Africa, hospice services are widespread, focusing on diverse communities (including orphans and homeless) and offered in diverse settings (including in-patient, day care and home care).[25] Over half of hospice patients in South Africa in the 2003-2004 year were diagnosed with AIDS, with the majority of the remaining having been diagnosed with cancer.[25] Palliative care in South Africa is supported by the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa and by national programmes partly funded by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.[25]

Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU) began offering services in 1993 in a two-bedroom house loaned for the purpose by Nsambya Hospital.[25] HAU has since expanded to a base of operations at Makindye, Kampala, with hospice services also offered at roadside clinics by Mobile Hospice Mbarara since January 1998. That same year saw the opening of Little Hospice Hoima in June. Hospice care in Uganda is supported by community volunteers and professionals, as Makerere University offers a distance diploma in palliative care.[27] The government of Uganda has a strategic plan for palliative care and permits nurses and clinical officers from HAU to prescribe morphine.

North America


Canadian physician Balfour Mount, who first coined the term "palliative care", was a pioneer in the Canadian hospice movement, which focuses primarily on palliative care in a hospital setting.[28][29] Having read the work of Kubler-Ross, Mount set out to study the experiences of the terminally ill at Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal; the "abysmal inadequacy", as he termed it, that he found prompted him to spend a week with Saunders at St. Christopher's.[30] Inspired, Mount decided to adapt Saunders' model for Canada. Given differences in medical funding in Canada, he determined that a hospital-based approach would be more affordable, creating a specialized ward at Royal Victoria in January, 1975.[29][30] For Canada, whose official languages include English and French, Mount felt the term "palliative care ward" would be more appropriate, as the word hospice was already used in France to refer to nursing homes.[29][30] Hundreds of palliative care programs followed throughout Canada through the 1970s and 1980s.[31]

However, as of 2004, according to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA), hospice palliative care was only available to 5-15% of Canadians, with available services having decreased with reduced government funding.[32] At that time, Canadians were increasingly expressing a desire to die at home, but only two of Canada's ten provinces were provided medication cost coverage for care provided at home.[32] Only four of the ten identified palliative care as a core health service.[32] At that time, palliative care was not widely taught at nursing schools or universally certified at medical colleges; there were only 175 specialized palliative care physicians in all of Canada.[32]

United States

Hospice in the United States has grown from a volunteer-led movement to improve care for people dying alone, isolated, or in hospitals, to a significant part of the health care system. In 2008, 1.45 million individuals and their families received hospice care. Hospice is the only Medicare benefit that includes pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, twenty-four hour/seven day a week access to care and support for loved ones following a death. Hospice care is also covered by Medicaid and most private insurance plans. Most hospice care is delivered at home. Hospice care is also available to people in home-like hospice residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, veterans' facilities, hospitals, and prisons.

The first United States hospital-based palliative care programs began in the late 1980s at a handful of institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic and Medical College of Wisconsin. By 1995, hospices were a $2.8 billion industry in the United States, with $1.9 billion from Medicare alone funding patients in 1,857 hospice programs with Medicare certification.[33] In that year, 72% of hospice providers were non-profit.[33] By 1998, there were 3,200 hospices either in operation or under development throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, according to the NHPCO.[33] According to 2007's Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System, hospice sites are expanding at a national rate of about 3.5% per year.[34] As of 2008, approximately 900,000 people in the United States were utilizing hospice every year,[35] with more than one-third of dying Americans utilizing the service.[36]

United Kingdom

St Thomas Hospice, Canterbury

The hospice movement has grown dramatically in the United Kingdom since Saunders opened St. Christopher's. According to the UK's Help the Hospices in 2009, UK hospice services consisted of 220 inpatient units for adults with 3,203 beds, 39 inpatient units for children with 298 beds, 314 home care services, 106 hospice at home services, 280 day care services, and 346 hospital support services.[37] These services together helped over 250,000 patients in 2003 & 2004. Funding varies from 100% funding by the National Health Service to almost 100% funding by charities, but the service is always free to patients.

As of 2006 about 4% of all deaths in England and Wales occurred in a hospice setting (about 20,000 patients);[38] a further number of patients spent time in a hospice, or were helped by hospice-based support services, but died elsewhere.

Other nations

Hospice care entered Poland in the middle of the 1970s.[39] Japan opened its first hospice in 1981, officially hosting 160 by July 2006.[40] The first hospice unit in Israel was opened in 1983.[41] India's first hospice, Shanti Avedna Ashram, opened in Bombay in 1986.[42] The first modern free-standing hospice in China opened in Shanghai in 1988.[43] The first hospice unit in Taiwan, where the term for hospice translates "peaceful care", was opened in 1990.[15][44] The first free-standing hospice in Hong Kong, where the term for hospice translates "well-ending service", opened in 1992.[15][45] The first hospice in Russia was established in 1997.[46]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Robbins, Joy (1983). Caring for the Dying Patient and the Family. Taylor & Francis. p. 138. ISBN 0063182491. 
  2. ^ Connor, Stephen R. (1998). Hospice: Practice, Pitfalls, and Promise. Taylor & Francis. p. 4. ISBN 1560325135. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Connor, 5.
  4. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Milton James (2007). Medicine and Care of the Dying: A Modern History. Oxford University Press US. p. 20. ISBN 0195175484. 
  5. ^ a b c Lewis, 21.
  6. ^ Lewis, 23-25.
  7. ^ Lewis, 22-23.
  8. ^ Foley, Kathleen M.; Herbert Hendin (2002). The Case Against Assisted Suicide: For the Right to End-of-life Care. JHU Press. p. 281. ISBN 0801867924. 
  9. ^ a b c Poor, Belinda; Gail P. Poirrier (2001). End of Life Nursing Care. Boston ; Toronto: Jones and Bartlett. p. 121. ISBN 0763714216. 
  10. ^ David Clark, PhD (July/August 2000). "Total Pain: The Work of Cicely Saunders and the Hospice Movement". APS Bulletin, Volume 10, Number 4. http://www.ampainsoc.org/pub/bulletin/jul00/hist1.htm. 
  11. ^ a b Spratt, John Stricklin; Rhonda L. Hawley, Robert E. Hoye (1996). Home Health Care: Principles and Practices. CRC Press. p. 147. ISBN 188401593X. 
  12. ^ Lewenson, Sandra B.; Eleanor Krohn Herrman (2007). Capturing Nursing History. Springer Publishing Company. p. 51. ISBN 0826115667. 
  13. ^ Sullivan, Patricia. "Florence S. Wald, 91; U.S. Hospice Pioneer", The Washington Post, November 13, 2008. Accessed November 13, 2008.
  14. ^ a b Reed, Christopher (2004-08-31). "Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: Psychiatrist who identified five stages of dying - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance". The Guardian. 
  15. ^ a b c d Kirn, Marie (June 1, 1998). "Book review". Journal of Palliative Medicine 1 (2): 201–202. doi:10.1089/jpm.1998.1.201. http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jpm.1998.1.201. 
  16. ^ Bernat, James L. (2008). Ethical Issues in Neurology (3, revised ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 154. ISBN 0781790603. 
  17. ^ Saunders, Cicely M.; David Clark (2005). Cicely Saunders: Founder of the Hospice Movement : Selected Letters 1959-1999. Oxford University Press. p. 283. ISBN 0198569696. 
  18. ^ a b Newman, Laura (2009-09-27). Josefina Bautista Magno. p. 753. PMC 200824. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=200824. "That vision, fuelled by her drive and gritty determination, led to the International Hospice Institute, soon to metamorphose into the International Hospice Institute and College as the need for education and training became recognised, and finally into today's International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care." 
  19. ^ "IAHPC Board of Directors". International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care. http://www.hospicecare.com/Organisation/#directors. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  20. ^ "IAHPC History". International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care. http://www.hospicecare.com/History/history.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  21. ^ "Standards for Palliative Care Provision". International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care. http://www.hospicecare.com/standards/. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  22. ^ Connor, Stephen (2009). Hospice and Palliative Care: The Essential Guide (2nd ed.). CRC Press. p. 202. ISBN 0415993563. 
  23. ^ Connor, 201.
  24. ^ Parry, Eldryd High Owen; Richard Godfrey, David Mabey, Geoffrey Gill (2004). Principles of Medicine in Africa (3 revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 1233. ISBN 052180616X. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wright, Michael; Justin Wood, Tom Lynch, David Clark (November 2006). Mapping levels of palliative care development: a global view (Report). Help the Hospices; National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. p. 14. http://www.eolc-observatory.net/global/pdf/world_map.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  26. ^ "What do Hospice and Palliative Care Programs in Africa Do?". Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa. http://www.fhssa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3286. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  27. ^ Wright et al, 15.
  28. ^ Forman, Walter B.; Denice Kopchak Sheehan, Judith A. Kitzes (2003). Hospice and Palliative Care: Concepts and Practice (2 ed.). Jones & Bartlett Publishers. p. 6. ISBN 0763715662. 
  29. ^ a b c Feldberg, Georgina D.; Molly Ladd-Taylor, Alison Li (2003). Women, Health and Nation: Canada and the United States Since 1945. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 342. ISBN 773525017. 
  30. ^ a b c Andrew Duffy. "A Moral Force: The Story of Dr. Balfour Mount". Ottawa Citizen. http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/story.html?id=896d005a-fedd-4f50-a2d9-83a95fc56464. Retrieved January 1, 2007. 
  31. ^ Feldberg et al., 343.
  32. ^ a b c d "Fact Sheet: Hospice Palliative Care in Canada". Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. December 2004. http://www.chpca.net/public_policy_advocacy/january_2006_policy_alerts/Factsheet-HospicePalliativeCareinCanada-December+2+2004.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  33. ^ a b c Plocher, David W.; Patricia L. Metzger (2001). The Case Manager's Training Manual. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. p. 222. ISBN 0834219301. 
  34. ^ Kiernan, Stephen P. (2007). Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System (revised ed.). MacMillan. p. 40. ISBN 031237464X. 
  35. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (2008-11-14). "Florence S. Wald, American pioneer in end-of-life care, Is dead at 91". New York Times. 
  36. ^ "While Hospice Care Is Growing, Not All Have Access". Forbes. 2008-04-10. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/hscout/2008/04/11/hscout614453.html. Retrieved 2009-03-21. [dead link]
  37. ^ "Facts and figures". Help the Hospices. http://www.helpthehospices.org.uk/about-hospice-care/facts-figures/. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  38. ^ End of life care: 1. The current place and quality of end of life care, House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, 30 March 2009, paragraphs 1-3.
  39. ^ Roguska, Beata, ed (October 2009). "Hospice and Palliative Care". Polish Public Opinion (CBOS): 1. ISSN 1233-7250. 
  40. ^ "Objectives". Japan Hospice Palliative Care Foundation. http://www.hospat.org/english/objectives.html. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  41. ^ Ami, S. Ben. "Palliative care services in Israel". Middle East Cancer Consortium. http://mecc.cancer.gov/pallative_care_workshop/ami-palliative_israel.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  42. ^ Kapoor, Bimla (October 2003). "Model of holistic care in hospice set up in India". Nursing Journal of India. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4036/is_200308/ai_n9246448/. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  43. ^ Pang, Samantha Mei-che (2003). Nursing Ethics in Modern China: Conflicting Values and Competing Role. Rodopi. p. 80. ISBN 9042009446. 
  44. ^ Lai, Yuen-Liang; Wen Hao Su (September, 1997). "Palliative medicine and the hospice movement in Taiwan". Supportive Care in Cancer 5 (5): 348. doi:10.1007/s005200050090. ISSN 0941-4355. 
  45. ^ "Bradbury Hospice". Hospital Authority, Hong Kong. http://www.ha.org.hk/haho/ho/hesd/100170e.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-21. "Established by the Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care in 1992, Bradbury Hospice was the first institution in Hong Kong to provide specialist hospice care." 
  46. ^ "Russia’s first hospice turns ten". Russia Today. September 21, 2007. http://www.russiatoday.com/Top_News/2007-09-21/Russias_first_hospice_turns_ten_.html. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 

Further reading

  • Saunders, Cicely M.; Robert Kastenbaum (1997). Hospice Care on the International Scene. Springer Pub. Co.. ISBN 0826195806. 

External links

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