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. Ideally, hospice refers to family-centered, multidisciplinary, holistic care for persons with life-threatening illness from any cause, in a supportive environment that focuses on pain management, psychological, social and spiritual support - palliative care at its best.
Since 2002, the World Health Organization has been urging member states to integrate hospice and palliative care into their health care systems and it has become standard in the global north, but much less so in the global south.
The Barbados Situation
Several demographic and social factors, such as the aging population with fewer relatives to provide care, looser family ties, time constraints on working families and the high cost of elder care point to the need for residential hospice.
Currently in Barbados, limited hospice and palliative services are provided in the home and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but there is no formal free-standing residential hospice option for terminally ill patients. 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 a quiet, serene setting. Construction has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but fundraising has resumed and the Barbados government has approved a long-term lease for a property in Christ Church.
Links to Relevant Organizations
Barbados Cancer Association USA (BACA). Inc.
Barbados Association for Cancer Advocacy (BACA Barbados)
c/o APR Law Chambers
Small Business Center, Unit C
Fontabelle, St. Michael, Barbados
Living Water Community (LWC)
St. David’s, Christ Church, Barbados
Barbados Association of Palliative Care
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine