The idea of a hospice can
be traced to the early Christian communities who created institutions
to care for their sick. In the Middle Ages, knightly orders
founded hospitals where their members devoted themselves to
the sick, especially travelers and those who had no one to
care for them. Later on, monastic orders and volunteer doctors
renewed the tradition, choosing to care for the poor, the
lonely and those who had nowhere to go.
With the growth of large hospitals, only a few corners of
the medical world tried to deal with the issues we face in
hospice care. People suffering from cancer had no answer to
their particular problems from the medical system. In the
end came the idea of bringing back an old concept - hospice
- to deal with this tragedy. The modern hospice movement originated
in London in the 1960's with Dame Cicely Saunders and St.
Christopher's Hospice. Now there are hospice institutions
or plans for them in about 100 countries of the world.
The hospice movement was introduced to the Soviet Union in
the late 1980's by Victor Zorza. He was a British journalist
born in the Western Ukraine who devoted himself to the movement
after his daughter was cared for in the London hospice.