Hospice [hos-pis]



Derived from the Latin word "hosicpes" which means both "host" and "guest"

A Brief History of Hospice
400 A.D Rome

The concept of hospice, as a place to care for the sick and dying, first came into being under the direction of Fabiola, a member of the Roman patrician class, who was well known in her day as a generous provider of the care and comfort of the sick and dying. 

Middle Ages

Knights Hospitaller were formed. In addition to opening hundres of wayhouses throughout Europe and the Middle East, they also cared for the sick and dying with the utmost respect.


The Sisters of Charity are formed with the guidance of priest Vincent de Paul. They created hospices to house pilgrims and the sick/dying.

1842 (France)

 The term “hospice” was used for the first time to identify a place to care for the chronically ill and dying in France, where Mme. Jeanne Gamier is credited with establishing an institution dedicated to the care of the dying.

1919  (England)

The Sisters of Charity found the Saint Joseph's Hospice caring for the terminally ill. Dame Cecily Saunders trains there as a young doctor.

1950's (England)

Dame Cicely Saunders realized that managing pain was not enough. She recognized that there were psycho/social and spiritual aspects of the dying process that needed to be addrssed.

1967 (England)

The first modern-day hospice, St. Christopher's Hospice opens in London, England.

1969 (England)

Dame Cicely pioneered the first home care team taking St Christopher’s care and philosophy out into the community

1974 (United States)

Florence Ward founds Connecticut Hospice just outside New Haven, Connecticut.

1975 (Canada)

A palliative care unit was opened at the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg and weeks later a similar palliative care unit was opened at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.

Hospice Care vs. Palliative Care

Hospice care and palliative care are very similar when it comes to the most important issue for dying people: care. Most people have heard of hospice care and have a general idea of what services hospice provides. What they don’t know or what may become confusing is that hospice provides “palliative care,” and that palliative care is both a method of administering “comfort” care and increasingly, an administered system of palliative care offered most prevalently by hospitals.


As an adjunct or supplement to some of the more “traditional” care options, both hospice and palliative care protocols call for patients to receive a combined approach where medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptom treatment are administered through a single program.


Where palliative care programs and hospice care programs differ greatly is in the care location, timing, payment, and eligibility for services. It is important to note, that there will be exceptions to the general precepts outlined below. Some hospice programs will provide life-prolonging treatments, and some palliative care programs that concentrate mostly on end-of-life care. Consult your physician or care coordinator for the best service for you.

Care Concept

Hospice Care


  • Generally, once enrolled through a referral from the primary care physician, a patient’s hospice care program, which is overseen by a team of hospice professionals, is administered in the home.

  • Hospice often relies upon the family caregiver, as well as a visiting hospice nurse.

  • While hospice can provide round-the-clock care in a nursing home, a specially equipped hospice facility, or, on occasion, in a hospital, this is not the norm.

  • Palliative care teams are made up of doctors, nurses, and other professional medical caregivers, often at the facility where a patient will first receive treatment. These individuals will administer or oversee most of the ongoing comfort-care patients receive.

  • While palliative care can be administered in the home, it is most common to receive palliative care in an institution such as a hospital, extended care facility, or nursing home that is associated with a palliative care team.


  • You must generally be considered to be terminal or within six months of death to be eligible for most hospice programs or to receive hospice benefits from your insurance.

  • There are no time restrictions. Palliative care can be received by patients at any time, at any stage of illness whether it be terminal or not.

  • Since there are no time limits on when you can receive palliative care, it acts to fill the gap for patients who want and need comfort at any stage of any disease, whether terminal or chronic.

  • In a palliative care program, there is no expectation that life-prolonging therapies will be avoided.


  • Most programs concentrate on comfort rather than aggressive disease abatement. By electing to forego extensive life-prolonging treatment, hospice patients can concentrate on getting the most out of the time they have left, without some of the negative side-effects that life prolonging treatments can have.

  • Most hospice patients can achieve a level of comfort that allows them to concentrate on the emotional and practical issues of dying.

Palliative Care

© 2019 The Heart of Hastings Hospice

17 McKenzie St Box 624

Madoc, ON  K0K2K0

(613) 473-1880

Charitable Number

12859 7192 RR001