Hospice offers medical care toward a different goal: Maintaining or improving the quality of life for someone whose illness, disease or condition is unlikely to be cured. Each patient’s individualized care plan is updated as needed to address the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Hospice care also offers practical support for the caregiver(s) during the illness and grief support after the death. Hospice is something more that is available to the patient and the entire family when curative measures have been exhausted and life prognosis is 6 months or less.
History of Hospice
In Western society, the concept of hospice has been evolving in Europe since the 11th century. Hospice 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 spend their last months and days of life 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. when she opened St. Christopher’s Hospice in 1967. St. Christopher’s Hospice in London emphasized the multi-disciplinary approach to caring for the dying, the regular use of opioids to control physical pain and careful attention to social, spiritual and psychological suffering in patients and families.
Within the United States. the term is largely defined by the practices of the Medicare system and other health insurance providers, which make hospice care available, either in an inpatient facility or at the patient’s home, to patients with a terminal prognosis who are medically certified at hospice onset to have less than six months to live.
Hospice care also involves assistance for patients’ families to help them cope with what is happening and provide care and support to keep the patient at home.
In 1969, Elisabeth wrote On Death and Dying. coining the 5 stages of death: Shock/Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
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