- Date: 1818
- 1 : a lodging for travelers, young persons, or the underprivileged especially when maintained by a religious order
- 2 : a facility or program designed to provide a caring environment for meeting the physical and emotional needs of the terminally ill
Hospice is a type of care and a philosophy of care which focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's symptoms. These symptoms can be physical, emotional, spiritual or social in nature. The concept of hospice has been evolving since the 11th century. Then, and for centuries thereafter, hospices were places of hospitality for the sick, wounded, or dying, as well as those for travelers and pilgrims. The modern concept of hospice includes palliative care for the incurably ill given in such institutions as hospitals or nursing homes, but also care provided to those who would rather die in their own homes. It began to emerge in the 17th century, but many of the foundational principles by which modern hospice services operate were pioneered in the 1950s by Dame Cicely Saunders. Although the movement has met with some resistance, hospice has rapidly expanded through the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere.