World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, 2005

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in conjunction with the The Foundation for Hospice in Sub-Saharan Africa* (FHSSA), the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), and area hospices, will celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on October 8, 2005, with FHSSA’s "Soul of Africa" Celebration.

What is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD or World Day)?

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a new and unified day of action to celebrate, support, and raise awareness about the global hospice and palliative care effort and need. The first World Hospice and Palliative Care Day will occur on October 8, 2005 . Events are planned all around the world--including concerts, conferences, readings--to coincide with Voices for Hospice on October 8. Voices for Hospice is the world's largest simultaneous event in aid of hospice care.

What are the goals of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

The goals are threefold, and include:

  • To share the vision and increase the availability of hospice and palliative care throughout the world;
  • To raise awareness and understanding of the needs--medical, social, practical, and spiritual--of people living with catastrophic illness, and how hospice and palliative care can transform people's lives and treat their pain; and
  • To raise funds to support and develop hospice and palliative care services throughout the world.

Why have a World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

More than 50 million people die every year around the world and approximately 60% of these individuals would benefit from hospice and palliative care, but many are not able to access these services. Persons living with catastrophic illness often experience unnecessary or undertreated pain, and if palliative care services are available, they may not know how, or have the ability, to access such care. Hospice and palliative care looks at the whole person and how terminal illness affects the individual, their loved ones, and their community.

Why are social workers important in hospice and palliative care?

Social workers have been involved in hospice and palliative care services since the inception of the hospice movement. The values of hospice, palliative care, and social work correlate with an emphasis on the whole person, the family unit, access to appropriate care, the quality of a person's life, and the ability to live and die free of pain.

This day is an opportunity for social workers to raise global awareness and support of hospice and palliative care for all individuals, especially the vulnerable and underserved such as those hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic. It will also highlight the social work role and commitment to such important care.

How to get involved?

Individuals and groups from hospices, palliative care, and related organizations are some of the individuals making this Day a first in worldwide recognition by hosting events on October 8. The goal is to continue these efforts to celebrate and raise awareness and funds for hospice care on October 8th annually. NASW hopes social workers and NASW chapters will sponsor or partner with other groups to celebrate this Day. NASW encourages attendance and participation at local events such as the one in Washington , DC . For information and resource materials on planning a celebration, please visit the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day with Voices for Hospices website or contact Fay Burrs, Director Access, Diversity, and HIV/AIDS International Programs, at

What is the Soul of Africa event happening in Washington , D.C. ?

The Soul of Africa is an event that will educate the community about hospice and palliative care, raise funds for hospice care, and offer a choral performance in honor of the day. NASW will be on hand to support the day and offer materials on palliative and end of life care.

When: October 8, 2005, 2 - 6 pm

Where: People's Congregational United Church of Christ 4704 13th Street, NW Washington, DC 20011

The Foundation for Hospice in Sub-Saharan Africa is now called Global Partners in Care.