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The History of Hospice


Overview & Objectives

The history of hospice dates back several centuries, although not the way we think of it today. Care for the sick and dying was provided by family members, religious orders, and those who were dedicated to easing the suffering of the terminally ill and dying. It was not until the 1950’s that hospice as we know it today began to take shape through the work of a compassionate and devoted physician named Dame Cicely Saunders. Her concept of holistic care and death with dignity laid the foundation for “Modern Hospice Movement.” This module covers the history of hospice from its earliest roots to the present. The learning objectives for this course are:

  • Discuss the origins of hospice
  • Name prominent figures in the evolution of hospice
  • Define the “Modern Hospice Movement”
  • Review Medicare guidelines in hospice
  • Summarize the history of hospice aide


  • Learning Module
  • Discussion Topics
  • Group Exercise:  Highlights in Hospice History
  • Test Questions
  • Instructor Answer Key
  • Attendance Sheet
  • Evaluation Form
  • Certificate of Attendance