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Hospice care

Hospice care is care of the dying. It is a relatively recent concept that originated and gained momentum in Great Britain after the founding of the first modern hospice, St. Christopher's, in 1967. Dr. Cicely Saunders is regarded as the founder of the hospice movement. Since its beginning, the hospice movement has grown dramatically.

Hospice care occurs in hospitals, free-standing hospice units, and in homes. More than a place, hospice care is a philosophy. It is characterized by concern for symptom relief, general well-being, and spiritual/existential comfort for the dying. The need to maintain quality of life in dying or "quality of dying" is important as the incidence of chronic illness increases with the aging of the Western world's population. The patient and family are the focus of hospice care, with emphasis placed upon the well-being of family caregivers as well as the patient. Opportunities for caregiver respite are one of the services hospices provide to promote caregiver well-being.

The first hospice in America was established in 1974. In the U.S., hospice care is provided by a core interdisciplenary team consisting of Physicians, registered nurses[?], chaplains, social workers, and the family. The focus of the team is to optimize symptom relief and function in people with terminal illness. Additional members of the team are likely to include home health aides, volunteers, personal care assistants, and housekeepers.

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