Hospice Movement BiosThe hospice movement took is nowadays a quite popular event in the world healthcare but if it has been developed quite recently in the history of health industry. The principle on which the hospice functions is that one needs to take extra care of the patients who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses, and their treatment should not only include means to relieve them from physical pain but also from spiritual, emotional and psychological pain. The hospice as a way of treating patients diagnosed with incurable conditions appeared in the US in the late s where they still play a great role. The roots of the movement can however be traced back to the work of a British nurse and then physician, Dame Cicely Saunders.
Dame Cicely Saunders was herself diagnosed with a heart condition that impaired her from practicing anything else but nursing. She developed her philosophy while volunteering as a nurse which crossed her paths with those of a Polish refugee. The refugee had been her first patient who knew that he was going to die. After the refugee died, Cicely entered the medical school and became a physician. As a physician she continued her work with incurably ill patients. She is the founder of the first modern hospice in London, called St. Christopher’s Hospice. It is thought that the condition of the Polish refugee inspired her work in the hospice care area as that was the time when she had acknowledged that these patients suffer not only physically, but also emotionally and psychologically and that these pains need to be addressed as well.
In the mid 1960s Dr. Saunders became a teacher of hospice care at the Yale University School of Nursing in Connecticut. Her main area of interest was pain management but she was the adept of the philosophy that for one to be healed, one did not need to be treated. The 1960s were characterized by the emergence of another important pioneer in the hospice care area, Dr. Kubler-Ross. She became quite popular thanks to her ‘On death and dying’ book in which she wrote about the stages through which patients go when they are diagnosed with an incurable condition. Her book was the result of the interviews and experience that she had with patients in the position of needing hospice care. She is also the one who recognized the five stages of grief, namely denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. Her model became popular worldwide and it could be applied not only to dying patients, but also to individuals whose life would have been turned around by an unfortunate event such as the death of someone loved or even a divorce.
But these are only two of the pioneers in the area of hospice care and many other individuals contributed to the development of this discipline over time.