In our great-grandparent's time, birth and death were common place in the family home and accepted as natural events.
Advancements in medicine have changed the dying experience to one of tests, procedures and hospitalizations, where family members are merely guests and control rests with health professionals.
In the 1970s a group of volunteers, faith leaders, healthcare workers and others began to question the cost to human dignity of this so called "progress." This group of social change agents created a healthcare model that allows people to die on their own terms - hospice.
In 2003 more than 950,000 people and their family members received hospice care. Hospice is available in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Hospice staff and volunteers help patients and their family and friends to focus on what's most important to them, allowing people to spend time together, share memories, say goodbyes, find peace or care for one another.