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Home » Community Hospices » About Community Hospices » History of Hospice

History of Hospice

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"The skills of a hospital and the warmth of a home"

Community Hospices believes that terminally ill patients and their loved ones deserve comfort, compassion and dignity during their end-of-life care. Hospice care can be a beneficial care option for terminally ill patients and their families.

The hospice movement is traced to Dr. Cicely Saunders who established in 1967 Saint Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, England. Saint Christopher’s Hospice became the model for comprehensive end-of-life care. When asked why she chose the name “hospice,” Dr. Saunders replied “… this will be something between a hospital and a home, with the skills of one and the hospitality, warmth, and time of the other.”

We are a Non-Profit Organization

The Washington Home and Community Hospices is a non-profit organization founded in 1888 to provide long-term care and care for the terminally ill. We are one of only two non-profit hospice organizations in the Washington Metropolitan area. This means our primary focus can be the quality of care each patient receives – not the bottom line. While we are careful stewards of our financial resources, Community Hospices’ decisions regarding patient care are based solely on the needs and comfort of the patient, not on whether they are covered by insurance.

Begun in 1978

The Hospice of Washington was established in 1978 at The Washington Home, 3720 Upton Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C.. It was one of the first inpatient hospices in the United States and is regarded as a national leader in the hospice movement. In l986, with enactment of the Medicare Hospice Benefit, we began home hospice care.

Expansion in 2001

In 2001 Community Hospice of Maryland and Community Hospice of Virginia became part of our organization.

Community Hospice of Virginia has an office at 520 North Washington Street in Falls Church. They serve patients in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties. They also serve Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park Cities.

Community Hospice of Maryland has two offices, one in Calverton at 4041 Powder Mill Road, and one in White Marsh at 9940 Franklin Square Drive. These offices serve patients in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.


Today, Community Hospices includes all three units: Community Hospice of Washington, Community Hospice of Maryland and Community Hospice of Virginia. Daily we serve more than 300 patients and their families in their homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.

The word "hospice" comes from the Latin hospitium, meaning hospitality and hospes, meaning host.

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