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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Hospice founder honoured
The modern hospice movement has now spread to 90 countries
The woman who founded the modern hospice movement in London has been awarded 700,000 for her role in reducing human suffering.

Dame Cicely Saunders, 83, who set up St Christopher's Hospice, was given the world's largest humanitarian award - the Conrad N Hilton Humanitarian Prize - for her life's work caring for the dying.

Dame Cicely said the cash would be ploughed back into care for the terminally ill.

"The prize money will help St Christopher's to enhance direct patient care and enable its clinicians to contribute to international training and the development of care of the dying.

There is still so much more to be done

Dame Cicely Saunders

World inspiration

"As we face a world-wide pandemic of HIV and Aids, particularly in Africa and other developing countries, the need for hospice care and the wider availability of morphine for pain control, and doctors and nurses trained in its use, has never been greater.

"There is still so much more to be done."

Dame Cicely established St Christopher's as the world's first teaching hospice in 1967 and her work inspired an international change in the way the terminally ill were cared for - now more than 90 countries have hospice movements.

Dame Cicely introduced the first hospice home care programme and developed the concept of holistic care, ensuring that the social emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families were met.

Barbara Monroe, St Christopher's Hospice Chief Executive, said: "The award is a recognition of the importance of St Christopher's central mission to improve care of the dying.

"It is a message of hope and support not only to the many professionals striving for this ideal, but to the millions of people all over the world who face loss, death or bereavement."

Charitable funds

The Conrad N Hilton Foundation has donated about 240m to world-wide charities since Conrad Hilton left much of his hotel fortune to the foundation.

Steven Hilton, president of the foundation said Dame Cicely's hospice was a worthy recipient of the award. "What was started at St Christopher's Hospice by Dame Cicely Saunders in the 60s has become a world-wide movement to provide compassionate care for the dying.

"New methods to control pain, treating the psychological, social and spiritual needs of the patient along with the physical, and allowing patients to be cared for at home are just a few of the innovations that are now the cornerstone of hospices throughout the world.

"From the vision and dedication of a single woman, countless millions are being spared unnecessary suffering as they approach the end of life."

The award will be presented at an international assembly of world human rights leaders in New York on September 17.

Dame Cicely Saunders
"It's a tribute to all the patients I learnt from"
See also:

27 Jan 01 | Health
Hospices face financial crisis
23 Aug 00 | Health
Hospices 'not places to die'
24 May 01 | Health
Doctors 'fail dying patients'
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