Public interest in hospice services is rising as palliative care needs continue to mount every day in the first world and developing nations. Already, more nations are paying serious attention to the provisions that most established institutions offer. Capacity building activities in various nations are also giving expansive elbow room for the practice to prosper. The level of palliative care among nations is expected to improve as the combined experiences in various locations-from institutional to in-home hospice care services, from the St. Christopher’s Hospice in London to as a far as the NGO program-driven efforts in Zambia-contribute to a wider public acceptance.
Already, there are more than 150 countries actively engaged in delivering hospice and palliative care or some semblance of them. The key to the successful implementation of palliative and hospice services lies in understanding its benefits and appreciating how such a movement started.
The modern hospice care that we know today is a philosophy movement that focuses on the amelioration of a terminally ill patient’s symptoms, which are physical, emotional, spiritual, or social in nature. This contemporary concept is an interdisciplinary approach to providing comprehensive end-of-life care and was generally acknowledged to have been started by Dame Cicely Saunders, who founded St. Christopher’s Hospice in London in 1967. Two years later, a former Yale University nursing school dean, Florence S. Wald brought the hospice movement to the United States after attending a lecture by Saunders. Wald formed an interdisciplinary team of doctors, clergy, and nurses and founded the Connecticut Hospice in Branford in 1974. Shortly after, similar institutions have sprung up and espoused sundry programs that look into the needs of dying patients. As the numbers grew, the US Congress compelled Medicare to pay for hospice services. This governmental action in 1982 has placed hospice treatment in mainstream medical practice and has made a hospice near los angeles precedent for other nations that intend to set up similar health welfare programs.
In Africa, for example, the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa was formed in 1987 and has grown to include about 120 member organizations in 2006. In 1993, the Hospice Africa Uganda started accommodating patients in a two-bedroom house and developed a model service to help poorer beneficiaries.
In Asia, the Canossian sisters, a Catholic religious order in Singapore, started a volunteer in home hospice care service in 1987. The collaboration between the Mongolian government and activists has also resulted to a palliative care plan being incorporated into the national health plan.
Latin American nations have also instituted their own versions. In 1982, Argentina pioneered the palliative care in the continent and has formed about 80 teams to operate in several major and medium-sized cities. The nation also launched the Pallium Latinoamerica training initiative in the early 1990s to support the clinical practice. During the decade, Costa Rica also instituted a health system that led to the founding of The Clinic for Pain and Palliative Care, which was later renamed the National Centre for Pain Control and Palliative Care. The nation likewise adopted a national pain control and palliative care policy soon after.