Celebrating Dame Cicely Saunders

On this International Women’s Day, we celebrate the singular achievements of Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement and a truly remarkable woman.

“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

– Dame Cecily Sanders

Dame Cicely saw the inadequacy of the care of the dying offered in hospitals. Often, patients and families were told that “there was nothing more that could be done.”

Dame Cicely refused to accept this and she founded St Christopher’s Hospice in 1967. It was first hospice to link expert pain and symptom control, compassionate care, teaching and clinical research.

“Through her single-minded vision, Dame Cicely revolutionised the way in which society cares for people with terminal illnesses and their families. She understood that a dying person is more than a patient with symptoms to be controlled.” – St. Christopher’s Hospice

A true pioneer

Dame Cicely pioneered research on the use of morphine as an effective drug for pain control. Similarly, she studied new approaches to symptom control. She believed in the paramount importance of combining excellent medical and nursing care with “holistic” support that recognised practical, emotional, social, and spiritual need. Dame Cicely saw the dying person and the family as the unit of care. Additionally, she developed bereavement services at St Christopher’s Hospice to extend support beyond the death of the patient.

In 1969 Dame Cicely pioneered the first home care team taking St Christopher’s care and philosophy out into the community.

She held more than 25 honorary degrees, from the UK and overseas. Awards included the British Medical Association Gold Medal for services to medicine, the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the Onassis Prize for Services to Humanity, The Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms for Worship Medal. Then, in 1979, Dame Cicely became a Dame of the British Empire.

Dame Cecily SuandersDame Cicely was convinced of the importance of combining excellent medical and nursing care with holistic support that recognised the practical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the individual.
Learn more about the philosophy of hospice and the remarkable achievement by Dame Cecily on the St. Christopher’s Hospice website.
Today we salute all of the woman who continue to lead efforts to bring expert compassionate care to communities like ours! Physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, CNAs, grief specialists, expressive therapists and more! We salute you and those behind the scenes who make hospice happen here in Kansas City!
Dame Cicely and her vision live on in us every hour of every day.

About Us

The mission of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care is to bring expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance, and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or by grief. Our vision is that each person in our community is valued from life through death and each family is supported in their grief.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.