Palliative medicine was first recognised as a specialist field in 1987. One hundred years earlier, London based doctor William Munk published a treatise on 'easeful death' that mapped out theprinciples of practical, spiritual, and medical support at the end of life. In the intervening years a major process of development took place which led to innovative services, new approaches to thestudy and relief of pain and other symptoms, a growing interest in 'holistic' care, and a desire to gain more recognition for care at the end of life.
This book traces the history of palliative medicine, from its nineteenth-century origins, to its modern practice around the world. It takes in the changing meaning of 'euthanasia', assesses the role ofreligious and philanthropic organisations in the creation of homes for the dying, and explores how twentieth-century doctors created a special focus on end of life care. To Comfort Always traces therise of clinical studies, academic programmes and international collaborations to promote palliative care. It examines the continuing need to support development with evidence, and assesses thedilemmas of unequal access to services and pain relieving drugs, as well as the periodic accusations of creeping medicalization within the field.
This is the first history of its kind, and the breadth of information it encompasses makes it an essential resource for those interested in the long-term achievements of palliative medicine as well as thechallenges that remain.
Table of contents
1: Nineteenth century doctors and care of the dying
2: Homes for the terminally ill: 1885-1945
3: Interest and disinterest in mid-twentieth century Britain
4: Cicely Saunders and her early associates: A kaleidoscope of effects
5: Defining the clinical realm
6: Specialty recognition and global development
7: Palliative medicine: historical record and challenges that remain