In one form or another, hospices have existed for centuries. Medieval hospices provided food and shelter for travellers on the pilgrim routes of Europe but also cared for the sick and dying.
The term hospice was first applied in 1842 when Les Dames du Calvaire created a hospice in the French town of Lyon. At the end of the nineteenth century other female religious orders went on to establish the first British hospices.
The growth of the modern hospice movement is founded on the pioneering work of Dame Cicely Saunders at St Christopher’s Hospice in south London, which she opened in 1967.
“You matter because you are you and you matter to the last moment of your life”
Dame Cicely Saunders
"You matter because you are you and you matter to the last moment of your life." Dame Cicely Saunders
More than anyone else, Saunders was responsible for establishing the practice and culture of hospice care. Her concept of ‘total pain’ went beyond the physical to include emotional, spiritual and psychological aspects of suffering. She described this ground-breaking approach as ‘holistic’. Saunders insisted that dying people needed dignity, compassion and respect, and she regarded every person as an individual to the end.
St Christopher’s became a phenomenal success and its model of clinical care, education and research has been imitated across the world. It is now one of over 220 hospices in the UK. To learn more about the hospice movement go to www.helpthehospices.org.uk
Hospice care, or specialist palliative care, has revolutionised how patients and their families are cared for when faced with life-limiting illnesses. Yet hospices remain almost entirely dependent on donations from the communities which brought them into existence.
£1.4 million is spent on hospice care every day. Of this, only £447,000 comes from government sources, leaving hospices to raise £949,000 per day.
The Rowans Hospice is among 158 voluntary sector hospices which offer their services free of charge. Each year it becomes more difficult to fund our care but through this website we show you how to help us transform the lives of people affected by life-limiting illnesses. You really can make a difference!
A quarter of a million patients are cared for each year by UK hospices