History of Hospice Care

I have the privilege of helping Hospice of Charlotte raise funds to support the communities and families who rely on Hospice services to care for their loved ones.   My family has benefited from Hospice care, and I’m glad to do my part to give back.  I thought it was fitting to share background information on Hospice.

The term “hospice” (from the same linguistic root as “hospitality”) can be traced back to medieval times when it referred to a place of shelter and rest for weary or ill travelers on a long journey.  The name was first applied to specialized care for dying patients in 1967 by physician Dame Cicely Saunders, who founded the first modern hospice—St. Christopher’s Hospice—in a residential suburb of London.

Saunders introduced the idea of specialized care for the dying to the United States during a 1963 visit with Yale University.  Her lecture, given to medical students, nurses, social workers, and chaplains about the concept of holistic hospice care, included photos of terminally ill cancer patients and their families, showing the dramatic differences before and after the symptom control care.  This lecture launched the following chain of events, which resulted in the development of hospice care as we know it today.

Thank you to all the volunteers who work with Hospice.  I’m especially thankful for my former cheerleading adviser, Janet Ansel.  Janet is a magnificent Hospice volunteer and a continuous ray of sunshine (and cheerleader) to lift the spirits of all her patients.

Janet Bolin


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