History of Palliative Care

The history/origins of “Hospice Palliative Care” – Dame Cecily Saunders, physician and founder of St. Christopher’s House Hospice in London, England, is credited with launching the modern hospice movement.  During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dame Cecily pioneered an approach to caring for the dying that focused on symptom & pain control and not on curing the underlying terminal illness.

You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die. Dame Cicely Saunders

In 1975, Balfour Mount coined the term “palliative care” when he brought the movement to Canada.  Both hospice & palliative care movements have flourished in Canada and internationally.  Over time, these programs gradually evolved from individual, grass roots efforts to a cohesive movement that aims to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for those who are living with or dying from an illness.

What is Hospice?  Hospice is a philosophy of special compassionate care that reaches beyond the traditional spectrum of treatments for disease or disorders.  It is a positive option for those who are nearing the end of life, when curative measures and treatments are no longer viable, or desired.  Hospice is a way to maximize one’s quality of life, up to the last moment.  It aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of living and dying by helping people with life-limiting and terminal illnesses live as comfortably and fully as possible.

Hospice palliative care neither hastens nor postpones death.

Hospice palliative care is for the person.  It is also for family members and friends, helping them care for their loved one and for themselves during times of grief.

Hospice palliative care strives to help patients and families:

  • address physical, psychological, social, spiritual and practical issues as well as their expectations, needs, hopes and fears
  • prepare for and manage the dying process
  • cope with loss and grief during illness and beareavement

We believe that death is a natural part of the cycle of life, and that everyone has the right to die with dignity, in as pain-free of a manner as possible, and in a place of their choosing, surrounded by loved ones, as the patient desires.  We do not hasten nor postpone death.  We simply proved the care & support needed to honour the individual’s choices.