The modern hospice movement
The modern hospice movement is relatively new – and is one of the UK’s great success stories.
It was through a friendship she struck up with a patient that Cicely Saunders, a trained nurse, saw that society needed a better place to care for the terminally ill. The patient had spent the last two months of his life on a surgical ward, simply because there was nowhere else for him to go.
In 1967, Saunders (who later became Dame Cicely Saunders) oversaw the creation of the UK’s first modern hospice: St Christopher’s Hospice in London. St Christopher’s Hospice provided physical, emotional and spiritual care for the dying – and operated as a teaching and research facility.
The Rotherham Hospice Appeal was formed in 1988, with the purpose of raising £1 million to provide Hospice care for the people of Rotherham. By 1993 over £550,000 had been raised, and the search for a suitable site began. Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council offered the site of its old council horticultural nurseries towards the end of that year. The site fulfilled all the criteria required, and was accepted on a 99 year lease for a peppercorn rent. The building of Rotherham Hospice was completed in May 1996, and the Hospice opened its doors to Day Hospice patients in mid-1996. A year later in September 1997 the Inpatient Unit was opened providing 4 single en-suite rooms and a 4-bed ward.
In 2009, the Board of Trustees approved plans for a ten-bed extension to the Hospice Inpatient Unit. In late 2010 the original Hospice was also refurbished to create a modern Hospice suitable for quality care provision into the future. The 10-bed extension was opened in April 2011 and the Hospice now has an Inpatient Unit with 14 single en-suite rooms.