Religion, medicine and community in the early origins of St. Christopher's Hospice

Clark, D. (2001) Religion, medicine and community in the early origins of St. Christopher's Hospice. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 4(3), pp. 353-360. (doi:10.1089/109662101753123977)

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Commentators on the history and development of hospice and palliative care can appear inclined toward a revisionist viewpoint that sees something "lost" in recent years from the original concept. The thesis concerning the "secularization of hospice" is one such example. It is suggested that the quality of these debates can be improved by serious scholarly attention to earlier events and circumstances, drawing on contemporary source materials, rather than retrospective viewpoints. This article, based mainly on correspondence from the early 1960s, explores ideas that shaped the early origins of St. Christopher's Hospice, England. It shows how Cicely Saunders and her associates created an Aim and Basis for the hospice that sought to reconcile questions about its religious orientation; its relationship to medicine; and its status as a community. We see how tensions between these were resolved, resulting in a model that would be applicable in other contexts. Without this pragmatic turn, it is unlikely that the hospice movement would have spread so quickly and so far in the 1970s and 1980s.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Clark, Professor David
Authors: Clark, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Journal of Palliative Medicine
Journal Abbr.:J Pall Med
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers
ISSN (Online):1557-7740

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