Friday 22nd June marks what would of been Dame Cicely Saunders 100th Birthday, we would like to take this opportunity to remember all the incredible work she did. She is best known for her role in the birth of the hospice movement, emphasising the importance of palliative care in modern medicine. In 1967, she opened the world’s first purpose-built hospice.
She founded hospice care on the principles of combining teaching and clinical research, expert pain and symptom relief with holistic care to meet the physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs of its patients and those of their family and friends. She wanted to create a place where patients could garden, write, talk – and get their hair done.
Dame Cicely understood that a dying person is more than a patient with symptoms to be controlled. She became convinced of the paramount importance of combining excellent medical and nursing care with “holistic” support that recognised practical, emotional, social, and spiritual need. She saw the dying person and the family as the unit of care and developed bereavement services to extend support beyond the death of the patient.
Without the incredible and pioneering work that Dame Cicely Saunders created, palliative care today would look very different so we thank her.