Amedisys is a private, for profit agency, which provides support and care for persons in the last phases of incurable disease so they may live as fully and as comfortable as possible. Hospice recognizes dying as a part of the normal process of living and focuses on maintaining the quality of remaining life. Hospice affirms life and neither hastens nor postpones death. Hospice exists to the hope and belief that through appropriate care, and the promotion of a caring community sensitive to their needs, patients and their families may be free to attain the degrees of mental and spiritual preparation for death is satisfactory to them (1). History
Care of the dying is not a new process. In the earliest beginnings of Christianity, followers were instructed that the care of the sick and dying was a sacred duty. By 325 AD, every large city with a cathedral was directed to have a hospice, and by 398 AD all churches were directed in having hospices. The hospice movement continued into the classical world, through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. In the late 19th and early 20th century, many bumps in the road were encountered in the Hospice Movement (1). Dane Cicely Saunders is credited with the beginning of the contemporary hospice movement. She practiced as a nurse, then as a social worker at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, England. She later went to medical school, and in 1967 founded St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. During lecture tours in the 1960’s, Dame Saunders shared her views and approaches to care for the terminally ill person. During these lecture tours, she came to the United States, and was instrumental in the first hospice opening in the U.S. in 1974 (1). In the late 1960’s, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross gained national attention with her book Death and Dying, a book credited with influencing the transformation of the American view of death and dying. The Hospice philosophy today offers an...
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