Hospice Movement: Easing Death's Pains

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The American hospice movement has done much to bring aid and comfort to the dying and their families. Nonintrusive, humane care for persons with AIDS, a special environment for children with terminal cancer, pain management, the option of letting death occur at home rather than in a hospital, the very acknowledgment and acceptance of death as a natural event in contemporary American culture - all have been made possible in small or large part by the hospice movement. Yet as told by some observers, its history has...
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Overview

The American hospice movement has done much to bring aid and comfort to the dying and their families. Nonintrusive, humane care for persons with AIDS, a special environment for children with terminal cancer, pain management, the option of letting death occur at home rather than in a hospital, the very acknowledgment and acceptance of death as a natural event in contemporary American culture - all have been made possible in small or large part by the hospice movement. Yet as told by some observers, its history has been marred by compromise and disappointment. The goal of an independent, nationwide network of hospice programs, completely attuned to the needs of the dying and unencumbered by the dictates of the traditional health care system and government bureaucracy, has not been realized. What had been intended as a full-fledged alternative to a system of care that seemed best suited to the interests of physicians and hospital staff, not the terminally ill, has for the most part been reduced to a mere extension of that system. Cathy Siebold, a social worker and psychotherapist who has witnessed firsthand the evolution of hospice care since its modern incarnation in the 1960s, presents a balanced and objective analysis of the movement's accomplishments and failings in The Hospice Movement: Easing Death's Pains. Using social movement theory to frame her discussion, Siebold traces the bell curve of growth, maturity, and decline that, to a point, has characterized the hospice movement. Founded by a diverse group of religious leaders, nurses, social workers, and laypeople, the movement was galvanized by the plight of a silent majority: dying patients, often isolated from family and friends in a hospital where intensive, last-ditch efforts to "cure" them were valued more than their own comfort and wishes. In its struggle to survive, the movement coalesced fairly quickly around the goal of securing eligibility for reimbursement from federally funded and private insure
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This analysis of the growth of hospice care in the United States traces the contradictory forces that gave rise to its development. Hospice care arose from the death-with-dignity movement, which emphasized attention to the spiritual needs of the dying patient. To that was added the desire to ease the pain of dying by providing palliative care rather than aggressive treatment. However, because of financial considerations, undefined aims, different values, and conflicting priorities between care and treatment, hospice care became integrated with healthcare systems. Thus, for practical reasons, its original intent to offer spiritual care to the dying patient often ceased to be its primary focus. This thoughtful study will be important primarily to healthcare professionals.-- Bonnie Hoff man, Stony Brook, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805738674
  • Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/1992
  • Series: Social Movements past and Present Series
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.79 (w) x 8.83 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 An Introduction to the Hospice Movement 1
2 The Evolution of Hospice Care 12
3 Social Conditions That Fostered the Hospice Movement 28
4 Death with Dignity and the Emergence of the Hospice Movement 54
5 Creating the First Modern Hospice Programs 83
6 The Peak of the Movement 108
7 Fragmentation 139
8 The Movement's Accomplishments 164
9 Care of the Dying: A Persistent Social Issue 185
Appendix: Sources of Information on Hospice Care 192
Notes 193
Bibliography 195
Index 212
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