Hospice: A Historical Perspective is Now on Display!

The NHPCO was delighted to host Alexandria’s Mayor, Allison Silverberg, to its headquarters this last Thursday for the grand opening of a new historical exhibit. To be displayed permanently at the NHPCO’s headquarters is a case filled with artifacts which documents the hospice movement. Cited as one of the most profound, volunteer and grassroots led movement, Hospice care is extremely important to all of the patients health care providers like you care for. If you are ever in town, stop by and view these phenomenal exhibits.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of St. Christopher’s Hospice, outside of London. Recognized as the birthplace of the modern hospice philosophy of care, the interdisciplinary model created by Dame Cicely Saunders at St. Christopher’s was introduced in the U.S. through work done at the Yale School of Nursing led by the Dean of the school, Florence Wald.

In 1978, the Hospice Demonstration Project was developed by Health Care Financing Administration (now known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) with 25 pilot sites across the country. By 1982, dedicated advocates and Congressional champions created the legislation that led to the Medicare hospice benefit. Since then, hospice care, and more recently palliative care, has been recognized as the ideal model of care for people with serious and life-limiting illness.

NHPCO, originally the National Hospice Organization, was created in 1978 to foster growth of hospice as well as innovation in care of the dying. As curators of the exhibit, Hospice: A Historical Perspective, NHPCO is honoring the legacy of the hospice community and paying tribute to the rich tapestry that makes up the history of hospice care.

“I applaud NHPCO for curating this important display, not only to celebrate the contributions of a group of wonderful and dedicated hospice leaders, but as a way to let our past help inform our future.  As our nation’s leaders currently debate how to reform our health care system, I think they could learn a thing or two from Dame Cicely,”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
-remarked Allison Silberberg at the dedication event at NHPCO’s offices.

In recent years, NHPCO staff have been reviewing historic papers, reports, publications, photographs, and other items with a focus on documenting key elements from the hospice community’s history.

During NHPCO’s Capital Campaign, funding was provided by Hospice of the Bluegrass (now Bluegrass Care Navigators) to produce a historical perspective of hospice. Display cases have been designed and installed in the offices of NHPCO to highlight and preserve a first-of-its-kind history of hospice in the United States.