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A Christmas Letter by Cicely Saunders, from twenty years ago

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment

Cicely Saunders was a great writer of letters. Indefatigable in her correspondence, she was equally happy dashing off the briefest of newsy notes, or setting out several pages of detailed text, full of insight and reflection. My acquaintance with her letters, built up over many years, was invaluable to me as I was writing her… Continue reading

The launch of the new Cicely Saunders biography

Published on: Author: milagerson Leave a comment

I recall learning of Cicely Saunders’ death in July 2005. It was morning in the Pacific Northwest and I was planning my day of home visits with hospice patients and families. I had greatly admired the woman who created and embodied an approach to care for dying that acknowledged the whole person as they were… Continue reading

Can palliative care improve society? Cicely Saunders and the moral order of dying

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment

In 1961 Cicely Saunders, in a short article written for a general audience, observed:  ‘A society which shuns the dying must have an incomplete philosophy’ [1]. The remark is loaded with import. In her observation, ‘the dying’, seem to constitute a known social category. Not only neglected, they are persistently avoided, ignored, or rejected through… Continue reading

Celebrating the centenary of Cicely Saunders

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment
Dame Cicely Saunders (courtesy of Christopher Saunders’)

In 2018 we are celebrating the centenary of the birth of Cicely Saunders. She is the acknowledged founder of the modern hospice movement which led to the creation of the palliative care specialty. So we can expect to see a wide range of events and activities to mark the occasion, not only in her own country, but… Continue reading

Autonomy and creativity at the end of life

Published on: Author: Ben Colburn Leave a comment
carved skull in Naples, Italy (courtesy of Ben Colburn)

What does it mean to have a good death? The best way of answering this question takes us via a philosophical theory of the good life. Central to living a good life is the value of autonomy: deciding for yourself what is valuable and living your life in accordance with that decision. Autonomy is an… Continue reading

Maureen Lipman on Dame Cicely Saunders for Great Lives on BBC Radio 4

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment

Great Lives is a much-loved biographical programme on Radio 4, the BBC’s current affairs and factual radio network. I have often listened to Great Lives at home or in the car and always enjoy the choice of subject, the perspectives of the contributors and the ideas that flow between them. At the time of writing this… Continue reading

A hospice visit reveals the ‘noun’ and the ‘adjective’

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment
St Margaret's of Scotland Hospice, Glasgow

I’ve visited many hospices over the years so there’s a sense of familiarity about them, but amongst the ‘pattern recognition’ there’s always a unique feature that jumps out, grabbing the attention. No matter how much one believes rationally in the ‘main-streaming’ of palliative care into the whole healthcare system, there is still something about the individuality of hospice… Continue reading