In the blog post, Prof Clark provides an insightful historical overview of the life of Dame Cicely, from her early childhood through her student and working life, to her establishment of St Christopher’s Hospice in London and her eventual death at the institution she founded.
According to Prof Clark: “(Dame Cicely) laid down the basic principles of modern hospice care. She developed a systematic approach to pain control in terminally ill patients; she gave attention to their social, emotional and spiritual needs; and she began teaching what she knew to other people. Her concept of “total pain” provided a revolutionary way of conceptualising the complexity of patients’ suffering. In response to medicine’s despairing rejection of the dying patient (“there is nothing more we can do”) she offered a positive, imaginative alternative that sought to ensure pain relief, maintain dignity and to enhance the remaining period of available life, however short.”
Read this excellent article in full on the End of Life Studies blog.