Being There: The Hospice Story

May 11, 06:00 AM

If you've been to a hospice before, then you'll know that they are amazing places. Hospices don't just provide nursing care for the dying, or the terminally ill. Since the founding of the first modern hospice in 1967, their work has grown to encompass rehabilitative therapies, emotional counselling, and even bereavement support for families, alongside excellent clinical care. The mission of a hospice is to improve quality of life and wellbeing, so that every patient can enjoy whatever time they have left to the full. 

This modern incarnation of hospice and palliative care was the vision of one woman: Cicely Saunders. In the 1940s, Cicely was a nurse who believed that medicine was failing to provide adequate and compassionate care to people who were dying, and it was this belief that led her to pioneer new methods of palliative care that totally redefined how we care for the dying. 

Cicely died in 2005, but in this episode we're lucky enough to talk to a colleague of hers, Mary Baines, who worked with her, and witnessed the birth of the modern hospice movement. The story Mary tells is a story about how one woman's compassion and conviction brought about lasting and revolutionary change, and it's a great one. 

And for all the hospice staff out there - make sure you listen to the end! There's a song included, courtesy of the Swansong Project, just for you. 

Theme music is by Bernadette Ryan.

'Hospice Family': Written and recorded by Victoria Kent, Kathy Roebuck and Ben Buddy Slack at Marie Curie Hospice Bradford 25/09/17. 

Find out more about the Swansong Project at

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Dying Matters is a part of Hospice UK, the national charity for hospice and palliative care. Registered in England and Wales No. 2751549. Charity registered in England and Wales No. 1014851, and in Scotland No. SC041112. VAT No 731 304476.