History of Hospice


The term “hospice,” interestingly from the same linguistic root as “hospitality,” can be traced back to medieval times. However, during this time period the term referred to a place of shelter and respite for weary or ill travelers. Subsequently, the name was first applied to specialized care for dying patients in 1967 by physician Dame Cicely Saunders. In fact, Dame Saunders is the person who founded the first modern hospice, St. Christopher’s Hospice, in London.

Development of Hospice

Saunders was paramount in terms of the development of hospice. In particular, Saunders introduced the idea of a very specialized and innovative type of care for the dying to the United States during a 1963 visit with Yale University. She gave a lecture to medical students, nurses, social workers, and chaplains about the concept of holistic hospice care. Saunders very prudently included photos of terminally ill cancer patients and their families. The photos illustrated the dramatic differences before and after the symptom control care. This very lecture launched a chain of events, which resulted in the development of hospice care as we know it today.

Hospice Today

Alert and Pain Free Life

Today, hospice care provides humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of an incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible. In essence, the hospice perspective accepts death as the final stage of life. Therefore, the primary goal of hospice is to enable patients to continue an alert and pain-free life. Additionally, hospice care strives to manage other symptoms as well so that the patient’s last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones.

Affirmation of Life

It is important to note, hospice does not hasten or postpone death. It does however operate from a special perspective—the affirmation of life. Fundamentally, it focuses on quality rather than length of life; and treating the person rather than the disease. Also, it is equally important to mention that hospice provides family-centered care. In essence, hospice considers both the patient, as well as the family regarding decisions.

Hospice Treatment

Improving the quality of life

Hospice care is suitable when a patient no longer benefits from treatment and is expected to live 6 months or less. It is important to note that a life expectancy is never “by the book”. Some patients with a life expectancy of six months will live much longer and some will die much sooner than expected. It is generally accepted that the sooner a patient can access hospice services, the more they will benefit from the care received. Hospice gives you palliative care, which is treatment to help relieve symptoms, but not cure the disease. Its main purpose is to improve quality of life. The patient, family, and doctor decide when hospice treatment should begin.

Importance of early treatment

Unfortunately, too often, hospice treatment is not started soon enough. In fact, sometimes the doctor, patient, or family member will resist acquiring hospice services because he or she feels it sends a pessimistic message; that there isn’t any hope in sight. Quite frankly, this simply is not true. There are instances in which a patient gets better or a disease goes into remission. If this occurs, the patient can be taken out of hospice care. In other words, there is a great deal of flexibility regarding hospice services. Each patient receives hospice treatment that is responsive to his or her needs.

Benefits the patient, you, your family and friends

Hospice treatment fulfills an important role in today’s society; one that should not be taken for granted. Specifically, it provides a large number of people with hope. The hope that hospice treatment brings is a better quality of life. In essence, hospice services can afford the patient with the opportunity to make the best of each day during a serious illness and/or the last stages of an advanced illness. Further, family and friends of the patient also benefit from the improved quality of life. Their relationships may be enhanced and/or prolonged. Therefore, should you or a loved one face a serious health challenge, consider utilizing hospice; it could make a world of difference for you, your family and friends!

Hospice Care

What are the options?

The challenges of taking care of a loved one can be quite overwhelming. After all, caregiving is a demanding, arduous job. It can take a physical, emotional, and spiritual toll on a person. As such, no one should have to do it alone. Acquiring help is essential for the caregiver’s health and very important for your loved one as well. Therefore, respite care is something that should be considered essential and utilized by caregivers.

Benefits to Caregivers

Respite care provides the caregiver with short-term breaks that are essential in terms of relieving stress, restoring energy, and promoting balance in the caregiver’s life. In the past, you may have turned to family members for help. However, this too can pose new challenges and additional stress for the caregiver. This is where the caregiver has the option of acquiring respite care services.

Respite care services -what are your needs?

There are several things that a caregiver needs to consider before hiring any one of the respite care providers that are out there. Specifically, the caregiver needs to analyze his or her needs. For example, do you need emotional support; free time to take care of personal needs or issues; and/or assistance with transportation? Moreover, the caregiver needs to consider the loved one’s needs, and preferences. For instance, will the loved one need assistance with walking, eating, and taking medications? Also, are social activities important for the caregiver and/or loved one? Once you determine your needs, as well as your loved one’s needs, you will be ready to research the various respite care services.

Caregivers can become exhausted

Caregivers play such an important role in their loved ones lives. However, often times, they too can find themselves struggling because they have pushed themselves beyond their own limits. Therefore, it is very important for caregivers to seek respite. In essence, it is essential for caregivers to make use of respite care services so that they are able to maintain their own health. After all, utilizing respite care services will prevent caregivers from becoming exhausted, isolated, and/or overwhelmed. For more information on respite care services and respite care providers, contact your physician.

Hospice Care Providers

In-home Services

There is a wide array of respite care services available. For example, a person may receive in-home services. This choice enables a person to remain in his or her own environment; and can be given for a few hours a day. The individual can be provided with personal care regarding things such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. Equally important, stimulation and companionship are also provided.

Death Support

Grief and its manifestation

Grief is something that is challenging and can be quite complex. Specifically, it may be experienced as a mental, physical, social, or emotional reaction. It can set in and take hold of you very early; upon learning of a loved one’s terminal illness. Perhaps you may become angry, guilty, sad, and full of anxiety or despair. What’s more, you encounter sleeping problems, changes in appetite, or other physical ailments. Conversely, grief may strike you later, well past your loved one’s death. However, one thing remains constant; it can wreak havoc in your life, manifesting itself in any number of negative ways. For these reasons and many more, it is imperative that you find a constructive way to deal with grief. It is essential to your livelihood that you research and utilize the options in terms of acquiring death support.

Hospice of North Sunflower provides constant family support

Hospice of North Sunflower is here to help you through challenging times. Equally important, we help families understand the complex feelings of grief. It is important to note that we don’t wait until a hospice death occurs to offer death support. Rather, the staff reaches out to families throughout their constant contact. Specifically, we provide information regarding the resources available to them in terms of death support. We also make ourselves available to answer any questions that may arise with regards to a hospice death.

You don’t have to do it alone

It is so vital that you realize that you don’t have to travel the difficult journey alone. You simply should not suffer in silence. In fact, you don’t have to wait until the hospice death occurs; you can reach out to us ahead of time. Therefore, please know that the staff here at Hospice of North Sunflower is available and willing to help you. We offer a safe environment in which you can find comforting death support.

Palliative Treatment

Improving the quality of life for the patient

Hospice provides palliative services to individuals with a life expectancy of six months or less. It is important to note, the primary goal of hospice palliative care is to relieve or minimize pain and symptoms. In addition, palliative treatment includes providing the patient with other comfort measures such as providing spiritual, psychological, and familial support services. In essence, hospice palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for the patient—for as long as possible. After all, hospice palliative services were created in an effort to help terminally ill patients die with dignity.

Palliative services offer a broad range of care

Hospice care operates from an interdisciplinary perspective. In essence, in an effort to provide quality palliative services, it utilizes the services of physicians, nurses, social workers, physical, speech, and/or occupational therapists, clergy, health care aides, and volunteers. Because hospice palliative care has witnessed a wide range of conditions in terminally ill patients, palliative services offered cover a broad range of care. Health care professionals in the field must be consistently responsive and sensitive to the ever-changing needs of the patients. Further, palliative treatment must include the resources that caregivers such as friends, family and volunteers have to offer.

We provide care anywhere you call home

The majority of hospice palliative treatment is provided in the home. The chief reason for this is because most people prefer to be in the comfort of their own homes. However, it is important to note, palliative treatment may also be provided in a long-term care or assisted living facility. Thus, the terminally ill patient and/or family can choose which option best suits their needs.

Whether provided in the home, hospital, long-term care facility, or anywhere else, hospice is an empathetic manner of delivering palliative treatment and supportive services to terminally ill patients. To acquire more information regarding palliative services, please contact your physician.

Home Caregiver

Home Health Hospice

Hospice services are convenient and flexible. This option is beneficial to patients who believe that traditional places such as hospitals are lonely, cold, and/or sterile environments. Home health hospice enables the patient to receive care in the comfort of their own home. It also allows the patient to be closer to family and friends.

Hospice Healthcare

Hospice health care encompasses the assistance of physicians, nurses, personal care assistants, counselors, therapists, chaplains, social workers, and trained volunteers. Note, each hospice health caregiver plays a unique and important role in the patient’s care. Specifically, each hospice health caregiver provides care in his or her area of expertise. In essence, hospice health targets as many facets possible in terms of the patient’s care. After all, each hospice health caregiver wants to relieve and/or minimize pain as much as possible so that the patient can be comfortable. Moreover, hospice health care managers provide the patient, as well as the family, with a care plan that lists the specific duties, work days, and hours of each hospice health caregiver along with contact information. In other words, continuity is ensured via the constant communication.

Hospice is affordable

Hospice health care has yet another added benefit for terminally ill patients. In particular, this type of care generally costs significantly less than inpatient care in a hospital, nursing home, or other, similar type of facility. The chief reason that hospice is much more inexpensive is because patients only pay for specific care needed. What’s more, hospice health care may employ volunteers who may provide many services at little or no costs; things such as telephone support and visits.

Therefore, should you or a loved one have the need for hospice health care, please reach out to find more information. You may contact your physician, social worker, or discharge planner. Any one of these individuals should be able to recommend local hospice care providers and/or facilities.