Hospice care, home health, and palliative care are inevitable points in all people’s lives. Although it may sound upsetting for many people who love life and live it to the fullest, the one and only thing that is certain from the time you are born. The certainty is that you will eventually die. You don’t always know when, how, or why but you have the personal choice to either be ready or not. That includes ones family, friends, co- workers, and anybody else one may care enough to include in their time of separation. It is considered respectful and of high intellectual capacity for people to consider their chances of both positive and negative aspects in life. This means that cultures and certain communities have either practiced palliative care or hospice care in the past without noticing it. For some odd reason some communities view hospice care as a taboo just as they see a hospital as a place where people go to get sick or die. Technology, best practice, and the ethics of all health care institutions have changed to cater to the people. Even more of this is evident in the most recent healthcare reform acts where people have rights and abilities to receive quality care with the supportive assurance that with that, affordable cost and access will be attainable.

“The inspiration for the modern hospice movement came from Dame Cicely Saunders, who as a student of nursing in her native England during World War II, witnessed a great deal of suffering and pain.”(NHF, 2014).

Dame Cicely came to believe that three things were most important in easing life’s final journey.

  1. People needed strong relief from physical pain and troublesome symptoms.
  2. The preservation of dignity.
  3. The need for help with the psychological and spiritual pain of death.


Since the mid-1970s when hospice care was introduced in America as the most innovative, comprehensive and humane care available for people with limited life expectancies; demand for hospice care has increased every year.

“One of the most important developments in expanding access to quality end-of-life care was the passage of the Medicare Hospice Benefit in 1982, through which hospices receive federal funds for the care they give to eligible patients. With this legislation, the federal government essentially declared that hospice care was so important in relieving suffering and in bringing about a peaceful and meaningful closure to life, that every citizen was entitled to it, regardless of ability to pay. Although federal reimbursements for providing hospice care have fallen behind the real costs of this care, this benefit has nevertheless supported the growth of quality end-of-life care for all Americans.” (NHF, 2014).

With everything that has been happening with health care in general all people can expect an even more beneficial health system. Current and future improvements include:

  • Population centeredness
  • More home based practice
  • Quality driven
  • Improved pain assessment
  • Reduced costs for patients
  • Higher satisfaction
  • More appropriate pain management
  • Overall quality
  • Increased interdisciplinary practice



The History of Hospice. (2014, January 1). Retrieved September 30, 2014, from