Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. mary Lagerwey

Second Advisor

Mary Baukus

Third Advisor

Patricia Fuehr


The human experience of dying is never an easy transition. Between the life stages of living and dying, many unanswered questions and emotions exist for the person dying, for close friends, and for family members. A person who is diagnosed with a terminal illness is often told he or she has six months or less to live. At this time the person and family may choose hospice. Hospice focuses on the concept of comforting rather than curing, or aggressively treating the patient's physical and mental pain versus aggressively treating the disease (Hoffman, 2005). Although hospice aims to comfort, the time between diagnosis of a terminal illness and death is often a very distressful time for not only the person with the illness but even more so for the family. Therefore, hospice traditionally considers both the ill patient and family as the unit of care (Briggs, 1987). For this distressful time, hospice may convey "solace, healing, and relief of suffering to patients and their families" (Krisman-Scott & McCorkle, 2002, p. 32). However, end-of-life care in hospice has not been around forever, and it is therefore crucial to look at how hospice developed in the United States.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only