October 12th

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day -

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The second Saturday in October marks World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, a collective day of action designed to celebrate and champion hospice and palliative care worldwide. Its fundamental purpose is to boost public familiarity with and support for the key roles hospice and palliative care have in life-enhancement for those with debilitating conditions and their families.

Through the power of unified global voices, the goal is not only to promote the demand for hospice and palliative care, but also to ensure its wide-ranging availability and accessibility for everyone who requires it.

History of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

The inception of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day was initially created through the collaborative efforts of a working group within the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), known as The Global Task Force for Hospice and Palliative Care. The year 2005 marked the first celebratory day dedicated to this cause. To this day, the WHPCA, a global collective of regional and national organizations dedicated to hospice and palliface care, continues its efforts in organizing and promoting this significant day.

The establishment of this special occasion aims to increase awareness and comprehension about the wide-ranging needs, be it medical, social, logistical, or spiritual, of those dealing with life-threatening or terminal illnesses and their relatives. It serves as an influential platform to discuss issues associated with palliative care and inspires governments and health institutions worldwide to invest in, and reinforce these services for the benefit of their citizens.

Each year, the day is recognized with distinctive themes, each bringing focus to the different aspects of care or distinctive populations that require aid. Theme examples include “Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care – Don’t leave those suffering behind” from 2017, “Because I Matter” from 2018 and “My Care, My Comfort” in 2020.

A variety of events are arranged globally on this day, such as informational sessions, concerts, charity running events, and media coverage, all directed towards increasing awareness about the essential need for fully accessible and comprehensive palliative care services.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Timeline

Modern Hospice Movements

Sister Mary Aloysius and the Sisters of Charity open the first hospice - St Joseph's Hospice for the Dying in East London.

First Modern Hospice

Dame Cicely Saunders establishes St. Christopher's Hospice in London, introducing the idea of specialized care for the terminally ill.

First Hospice in the U.S.

The first hospice in the United States, the Connecticut Hospice, is opened.

Palliative Medicine Recognized

The World Health Organization recognizes palliative care as a legitimate part of medical care.

First celebration of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) first organized World Hospice and Palliative Care Day in 2005.

Palliative Care Certification

Palliative Medicine is officially recognized as a medical subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

ACA requires eligible hospitals to provide palliative care services and referrals to follow-up care.

Ideas to Celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

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Host an Expert Panel

Host a round-table discussion with reputed local figures of palliative and hospice care such as healthcare professionals, spiritual guides, and people with personal experiences in the field. They can engage the audience by sharing their unique perspectives and resolving any queries regarding such cares.

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Volunteer at a Local Hospice

Turn the day into an opportunity to give back by volunteering at your local hospice center. You can ask your acquaintances and colleagues to partake with you in activities such as serving at meal times, leading patient activities or just offering company to the patients.

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Share Patient Stories Online

Collect stories from patients and their families about their journey with hospice and palliative care, keeping in mind their consent and privacy. Publicizing these narratives can potentially help break stereotypes and throw light on the advantages of such cares.

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Host an Educational Seminar

You can plan an informational session or workshop with the aim of educating people about the significance of hospice and palliative care. Invite healthcare experts who can provide reliable information on this matter, dispel common misunderstandings and discuss the resources available for patients and families.

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Fundraise for Hospice Care

Organize a fundraising event in support of local palliative and hospice care facilities or relevant charities. The event could be a charity race, a bake sale, or a garage rummage sale. The money raised can contribute towards enhancing the facilities, acquiring essential equipment, or aiding patients who lack financial support for the care.

7 Interesting Facts About Hospice and Palliative Care


Not Just for the Elderly

Hospice and palliative care aren't exclusive to older adults. They also cater to younger individuals battling severe health conditions like cancer and heart disease.


Interdisciplinary Approach

It’s not just a one-man show. An entire team involving physicians, nurses, social workers, and therapists collaborates to deliver comprehensive care. They focus not only on physical relief but also on emotional and spiritual health.


Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Despite common misconceptions, palliative and hospice care aren't exactly the same. Palliative care is open for anyone at any illness stage, but hospice care typically applies to the last six months of life.


Home Comfort

Hospice care isn't confined to a hospice unit. It usually takes place right at home, providing a familiar and comfortable setting for patients.


Grief Support

The roles of hospice and palliative care teams extend beyond pain management. They provide emotional support and counseling to families in their mourning process.


A Growing Field

There has been a significant rise in palliative care in recent years. This increase reflects the growing need for customized and compassionate care for the seriously ill.


Cultural Sensitivity

Hospice and palliative care teams make it a priority to uphold cultural and spiritual respect for each patient's beliefs. This understanding makes the path towards the end of life more personal and comforting.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day FAQs

Next World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 October 14th Saturday
2024 October 12th Saturday
2025 October 11th Saturday
2026 October 10th Saturday
2027 October 9th Saturday
What is the pattern? Second Saturday in October

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Word Search

  • Hospice
  • Palliative
  • Compassion
  • Caregivers
  • Patients
  • Support