What is Hospice?

The word "hospice" stems from a Latin word meaning guesthouse. It was originally a place of shelter for weary and sick travelers. A British physician, Dr. Cicely Saunders, began the modern hospice movement during the 1960's and established St. Christopher's Hospice near London. St. Christopher's organized a team approach to giving hospice care, and was the first program to use modern pain management techniques to adequately care for the dying. The first hospice in the United States was established in New Haven, Connecticut in 1974.

Presently more than 3,200 hospice programs exist in the United States including Puerto Rico and Guam. Hospice programs cared for more than 885,000 people in the United States in 2002.

More than 80 percent of hospice care is provided in the home and in nursing homes. Inpatient units are available to assist with caregiving when required.

For more information about services of Hospice of West Tennessee call 731-664-4220, 1-800-286-5717, or e-mail us at Hospice@wth.org with questions or feedback about our web site.