Pioneer of hospice care passes away

The woman who opened the country's first hospice facility has passed away at the age of 91.

Florence S Wald died of natural causes in her home in Branford, Connecticut, on November 8th. The former dean of Yale University School of Nursing was the first to offer html" target="_self">hospice care in 1971. She was widely known as "the mother of the American hospice movement."

Wald, along with two pediatricians and a Yale medical center chaplain, founded the Connecticut Hospice located in her hometown of Branford. She is also credited for bringing the hospice movement from England to the U.S.

Her hospice became a model for future facilities and changed the perception of end-of-life care, according to Yale Nursing News.

"Hospice care for the terminally ill is the end piece of how to care for patients from birth on. We are showing people that there are meaningful ways to cope with this very difficult situation," said Wald while she was dean.

In 1982, Congress ordered Medicare to pay for hospice care, allowing more facilities to be built.

A recent study showed that approximately 1.4 million people received hospice care in 2007, an increase of about 100,000 from the year before. There are about 4,700 hospice facilities in the U.S.

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