The Hospice Insider | August 3, 2016
Hospices are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The term “hospice” is from the same linguistic root as “hospitality.” It 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. Physician Dame Cicely Saunders first applied the name to specialized care for dying patients, and she began to work with the terminally ill in 1948. She then created the first modern hospice in a residential suburb of London. Saunders introduced this specialized care to the United States during a visit to Yale University in 1963. Her lecture there resulted in the development of hospice care as we know it today.
Every year the NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization) releases a report NHPCO Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America. The report provides and annual overview of hospice care across the country including growth, delivery and quality.
According to the NHPCO Facts and Figures, the number of hospice programs continually increases. From 2010 to 2014 the number of Hospice providers in the United States increased from 5,150 to 6,100. The first hospice program opened in 1974, and there are over 6,100 programs today. The estimate includes primary locations and satellite offices. Hospices are located in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some hospices are large, national corporate chains that care for thousands of patients each day while others are small all-volunteer agencies that care for fewer than fifty patients per year.
Dame Cicely Saunders once said, “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the last moment of your life. We will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also live until you die.”