The History of Hospice
The term "hospice" (from the root as "hospitality") can be traced back to early Western Civilization when it was used to describe a place of shelter and rest for weary or sick travelers on long journeys.With time and the advance of medicine, birth and death were transplanted to a new and often strange and intimidating environment: the modern hospital, where family members were merely guests and control of the patient's care rested with unknown health professionals.
While acknowledging the many benefits of modern medicine, a group of clergy, healthcare workers and other thoughtful people began wondering in the 1970s whether these advances, of depriving the natural dying process of the patient and family, hadn't also robbed it of dignity. Out of these concerns, hospice care was born in the United States. In 1974 the United State's first hospice was established in New Haven, Conneticut, and the natural process of dying was returned to the home.
Hospice has experienced extraordinary growth since then, with more than 3,000 hospices. The first hospice in Colorado, Hospice of Boulder County, was established in 1976 and was either the second or third hospice in the nation. Hospice of the Plains was the first hospice established in Yuma County and was licensed by the State October 2, 1996 and Medicare certified November 8, 1996.
Bringing death out into the open and making sickness and loss a time of sharing and remembrance is difficult. And while the hospice experience may not be for everyone, those who choose hospice find the specialness of caring for a loved one and the richness of sharing memories of youth, trials and joys a rewarding experience never to be forgotten.