Humane & Compassionate Care
Hospice, in the earliest days, was a concept rooted in the centuries-old idea of offering a place of shelter and rest, or "hospitality" to weary and sick travelers on a long journey. Dame Cicely Saunders at St. Christopher's Hospice in London first applied the term "hospice" to specialized care for dying patients in 1967. Today, hospice care provides humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.
The Hospice Philosophy of Care
Hospice is a philosophy of care. The hospice philosophy recognizes death as the final stage of life and seeks to enable patients to continue an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice affirms life and does not hasten or postpone death. Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease; it highlights quality rather than length of life. It provides family-centered care and can be given in the patient’s current residence.
When Hospice Care is Appropriate
Hospice care is appropriate when you can no longer benefit from curative treatment and your life expectancy is about 6 months. You, your family, and your doctor decide together when hospice services should begin. If your condition improves or the disease goes into remission, you can be discharged from the hospice program and return to active treatment, if desired. Hospice care may be resumed at a later time. The hope that hospice brings is the hope of a quality life, day -to-day, during the stage of advanced illness.