Hospice in the United States

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Hospice in the United States

Hospice is a concept of caring borrowed from medieval times, where travelers, pilgrims and the sick, wounded or dying could find rest and comfort. The contemporary hospice offers a program of care to patients and families facing a life threatening illness encompassing medical, nursing, spiritual, and psychological care. It is more than a medical alternative, it is an attitude toward death and the process of dying. Terminal disease is managed so patients can live comfortably until they die. The hospice program in the United States has evolved in part as an attempt to compensate for the inadequacies of the present medical system, particularly in caring for patients with a terminal illness. Hospice care has grown from an alternative health care movement to an established component of the American health care system. The modern hospice movement began in 1967 when Cicely Saunders opened St. Christopher's Hospice in London England. In the late 1960’s, several Yale University students invited Dr. Saunders to come speak at Yale. These students were inspired to create a similar service in the United States. They opened the Connecticut Hospice in Branford, Connecticut and pioneered the hospice movement in the United States. This became the nation’s first specially designed hospice care center. What is Hospice care? In an attempt to answer, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement in 1990 about the philosophy and techniques of hospice care.

A. Hospice affirms life and regards dying as a normal process.

B. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death.

C. Hospice provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms associated with dying.

D. Hospice combines aspects of psychosocial and spiritual care.

E Hospice offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death.

F. Hospice offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and during the bereavement process.

We can see that the hospice concept is a bio-psychosocial approach to the dying process, concerned with biological, psychological, and social health. Because of its proponents, Hospice is considered a more humane and sensible approach to terminal illness, combining care, comfort, and support of family and friends as the individual faces death. Their concern for dignity and fo...

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