From the MASSAGE Magazine article titled, “Hospice Touch: Massage Eases the Last Transition,” by Ann Catlin, in the November 2008 issue. Article summary: More people are returning to the idea that giving care to the dying is a natural, holistic process, and one that can include touch.

1. The word “hospice” stems from “hospitium,” meaning guesthouse.

2. The first hospice in the U.S. was established in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1974.

3. Today, there are more than 4,500 hospice providers in the U.S.

4. Seventy-four percent of all hospice patients are cared for in the place they call home; i.e., private residences and long-term-care facilities.

5. The average length of service for a patient receiving hospice care is 60 days.

6. Cancer diagnoses account for fewer than half of all hospice admissions.

7. Four out of five hospice patients are 65 years or older.

8. One-third of all hospice patients are 85 years or older.

9. Medical and support services are paid for by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.

—Ann Catlin

Source: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization