Villa Marie Claire

What is 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 by physician Dame Cicely Saunders, who began her work with the terminally ill in 1948 and eventually went on to create 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 to Yale University.

Today, hospice focuses not on a cure, but on quality of life. Hospice care is provided in the home or in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to more than 1.65 million Americans and their families every year. Hospice services are available to patients of all ages, religion and race, with any type of life-threatening illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations.

At Villa Marie Claire, experienced and skilled staff members serve as primary caregivers, providing 24-hour residential care. The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient's individual needs, administering services such as pain management, symptom control, emotional and psychosocial well-being, religious and spiritual support, and bereavement counseling.