The Charity Hospice Information Service explains as follows:
Hospice care is one of the UK's outstanding success stories. From the opening of the first modern hospice, St Christopher's, in south London in1967, it has grown into a worldwide movement that has radically changed the way we approach death and dying. It is regarded by some as one of the greatest social innovations of the last hundred years.
The driving force behind hospice, or palliative, care is the desire to transform the experience of dying. Still in the 21st century in the UK people die in avoidable pain and distress. In hospices multi-disciplinary teams strive to offer freedom from pain, dignity, peace and calm at the end of life.
Underpinning this care is a philosophy that takes as its starting point the affirmation of death as a natural part of life. Built on that bedrock are the values of respect, choice, empowerment, holistic care and compassion. Hospices care for the whole person, aiming to meet all needs - physical, emotional, social and spiritual. They care for the person who is dying and for those who love them, at home, in day care and in the hospice. Nearly half of all people admitted to a hospice return home again. The average length of stay is just 13 days. All care is free of charge.
Within hospices you will find a range of services - pain control, symptom relief, skilled nursing care, counselling, complementary therapies, spiritual care, art, music, physiotherapy, reminiscence, beauty treatments and bereavement support.
Staff and volunteers work in multi-professional teams to provide care based on individual need and personal choice.
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