November marks National Hospice Month. But this month was overshadowed by the death of Florence Wald on November 8, former Yale nursing dean and founder of the first hospice in America.Her daughter, Shari Vogler, said that her mother had died from natural causes. She died in her home in Branford, Connecticut with a hospice volunteer by her side.
Wald’s interest in hospice care was pioneered from a lecture given by Cicely Mary Saunders, founder of the first hospice in London, St. Christopher’s Hospice. In 1974, Wald opened Connecticut Hospice, the first hospice program in the United States.
Wald continued to advocate for more hospice programs to open. According to the National Hospice Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) website, the number of hospice programs nationwide continues to increase. In 2007, there were approximately 4700 hospice programs including all 50 states, Guam, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Wald lobbied for funding that would alleviate the cost of hospice services for the terminally ill. In 1982, Congress directed Medicare to cover the cost of hospice services.
“We are truly sorry to lose a leader of this caliber in the hospice community,” says Lisa Adams, PR Coordinator for CTMC Hospice Care. “Ms. Wald represented the true colors of a person who literally preached through their heart and gave comfort to those dying. Her pioneering spirit, leadership and dedication to the hospice movement is her legacy.”
For more information about CTMC Hospice Care, please contact 512-754-6159 or stop by the office located at 1315 IH-35 North in San Marcos.
by Lisa Adams
Central Texas Medical Center