History, Background & Evolution Of Hospice
The word Hospice is derived from the Latin word “Hospitum” guesthouse or a monastery where travelers in the medieval times would rest in monasteries on their way to pilgrimage to seek the mercy of the Lord. Since the journey was long and conditions were harsh many travelers would become ill and would spend their final days in these shelters fully dependent on the Mercy of the Lord which were eventually known as Hospices.
The concept of Hospice is said to have originated in France which became a popular concept in the western world when Irish Sisters of Charity (ISC) opened various Hospices in Dublin & London respectively in the year 1905. The concept became popularized with professionalized service offering coupled with better socio-economic background, manageable population & higher literacy in the western world. Hospice & Palliative Care are used interchangeably for providing care to the terminally ill patients.
In India, the case/scene is entirely different and in no way comparable to the West with the traditional family structures & value systems. Hence, till last decade, Hospice & Palliative Care as a structured approach to care for the terminally ill patients is in infant stages & the need for expanding is high. However, with the growing demand, there are nearly 10 Hospices in India and over 200 Hospices around the world which are managed by various individuals and religious groups out of care and compassion.