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Hospice care has roots in "hospitality"

Fundraiser takes place March 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel
Fundraiser takes place March 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

Hospice is a concept related to an early practice of providing shelter, “hospitality” for the sick and weary. History says the term “hospice” came from Dame Cicely Saunders in 1967 who founded St. Christopher Hospice in London as a place providing specialized care for dying patients. Today, hospice care provides humane and compassionate care alternatives for people who may be in the final stages of an incurable disease so they may live fully and comfortably. Hospice provides care and support for families as well. Some hospice options include an actual facility, like the early St. Christopher Hospice. The first hospice in the U.S. was established in New Haven, CT in the mid-1970s. Hospice care is also often associated with a team of professionals who provide care to the patient at home (or preferred place for the patient).

One of the problems with hospice care cited most frequently by those who work in the field is that referral to hospice care often happens too late. Many families and doctors resist the notion of hospice because it suggests the end of life is near. The American Cancer Society spells out clearly that with cancer, for example, there may be periods of remission, in which case, hospice care can be suspended until further need. When families incorporate hospice care earlier in the process, they find comfort, clarity and often a sense of relief for themselves and their loved one. Physicians provide written orders for hospice care and will often follow the wishes of a family that requests hospice care when the prognosis determines an incurable condition.

Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) provides hospice care around the country. Find Colorado VNA offices. Porter Hospital has a program for hospice care in Denver. Established over 20 years ago, Porter Hospice offers care in the home, at a nursing home or at Porter Hospice at the Johnson Center in Denver.

The tenth annual Soup for the Soul fundraiser for Porter Hospice and St. Anthony Hospice takes place on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel at 5:30 p.m. These two hospices provide more charity care than any other hospice program in the metro Denver community and more than five times the state average.

Kathryn also writes as Denver Disability Examiner and Denver Mobility Products Examiner. Contact to suggest future topics and for other inquiries.


  • PaigeThompson 5 years ago

    Thank you for spreading the word about Soup for the Soul, tickets are still available online or by calling 303.715.7612. We appreciate your support and hope you can join us tomorrow!

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