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Hospice

What is Hospice?

Care and comfort when it's needed most

The term hospice was used in medieval times to refer to a place of shelter and respite for those on long journeys. Its use in modern times is credited to the British physician Dame Cicely Saunders who began her work with the terminally ill in 1948 and established the first modern hospice St. Christopher's in London in 1967. In its most current sense, hospice refers to family-centered, multidisciplinary, holistic care for persons at end of life from any cause, in an environment that fosters peace and tranquility and limits suffering. Hospice and palliative care limits suffering in all its forms - physical, psychological, spiritual, and are inextricably linked. However, it must be emphasized that palliative care is not limited to end of life or the hospice setting but is appropriate at any time in the course of any illness.

In Barbados, several demographic and social factors, such as the aging population, fewer relatives to provide home care, loosening of family ties, time constraints on working families and the high cost of elder care all point to the need for a residential hospice facility.

Currently in Barbados, home hospice and palliative care services are provided predominantly by the Barbados Assocication for Palliative Care (BAPC), a non governmental organization but demand exceeds capacity. Of note is that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital boards terminally ill patients on its "cancer ward" since there is no formal free-standing residential hospice option for end of life care. This not only ties up acute care beds, but is much more costly compared to providing end of life care in a residential setting, either standalone or in an instituional seting. 

The Barbados Ministry of Health and local cancer advocacy organizations all agree that hospice services would be greatly enhanced by such a project.

The plan is for a 14-bed, free-standing facility in partnership with the Living Water Community (LWC), a Barbados charity with extensive hospice care experience in Trinidad & Tobago.

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