Born June 22 1918, Dame Cicely Saunders revolutionised care for those who were dying. Working as a volunteer nurse she saw how better pain control was needed by patients, and to this aim she qualified as a doctor so she could put her ideas into practice. In 1967 she founded St Christopher’s Hospice in south London, where she established the practice of palliative care as we now know it. This is widely regarded as the year the modern hospice movement was born.
In 2002 she established the Cicely Saunders Institute in London to promote research into improving the care of patients with terminal conditions, and to increase access to high quality palliative care for everyone who needs it, in any location.
The Institute continues her legacy by providing education to palliative care professionals around the world, and hosting thought-provoking debates and events. A recent Conversation Starter event on the theme of bereavement held during Dying Matters Awareness Week asked audience members what kind of research they would like to see more of.
To commemorate Dame Saunders’ 100th birthday, the Institute will be tweeting its most significant research papers, those that have resulted in changes to clinical care, policy and education. Using #cicely100, the @csi_kcl account will tweet a paper a day for a hundred days.
Commenting on Dame Saunders’s anniversary, Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said:
“Dame Cicely Saunders was a truly remarkable woman whose visionary approach transformed care for dying people in the UK and around the world and defined the modern hospice movement.
“She led and championed a radically different way of supporting people at the end of life which went far beyond treating someone’s physical pain to provide holistic support for all of their needs.
“Her influence continues to live on in hospices across the UK through the compassionate, person-centred care they provide to more than 200,000 people every year.
“As the hospice movement faces new challenges, such as supporting the growing care needs of the UK’s ageing population, Dame Cicely’s legacy of compassion and innovation in developing new ways of working to support people at the end of life is ever more important.”
Google are also honouring her many achievements with today’s Google Doodle
For more information visit Cicely Saunders Institute