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Multimedia website launched to celebrate 50 years of modern hospice movement

05 September 2017

A new multimedia website has been launched in the UK to commemorate 50 years of the modern hospice movement.

The website, After Cicely, covers the story of Dame Cicely Saunders, how she founded the modern hospice movement, and how it will continue to grow in the future.

Short films and quotes from volunteers, hospice staff and experts in the field of palliative care, explain how the public’s understanding of death and dying is improving thanks to initiatives like Dying Matters, and new social movement schemes like Compassionate Neighbours. A particularly moving friendship mentioned here is that of Judea Bogle and St Joseph’s Hospice project coordinator Joy Kahumbu, who is helping to give Judea her confidence back after getting bone marrow cancer which has greatly limited her social life.

Among the films featured on the website is a clip about the Pushing Up Daisies festival, which hosts group activities to encourage conversations about death. Additionally there is an excerpt of Cicely’s final interview in 2005, with biographer Professor David Clark.

There are plenty of interesting facts (the word “hospice” is linked to the Latin word for hospitality “hospes” which means to treat a stranger as a guest), as well as first hand experiences like this one from Richard Parks:  “People used to walk across the road from me after my son died because they were frightened and did not know what to say.  You have got to keep talking and taking it out into the public domain.”

Dr BJ Miller, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, explained at a recent talk at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, that “we are never going to train enough doctors to do the work. We need lawyers, philosophers, architects and different minds to come together to shine light on the subject.”

Claire Henry, Director of Improvement and Transformation, Care and Clinical Leadership at Hospice UK, said: “We need to be really creative about how we work together. So we can have all the support we need when it is our time to die.” This informative, user-friendly resource gives a glimpse into how this might happen.  

This article originally appeared on the UK edition of ehospice

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