Documentary to Celebrate the Life of Hospice Pioneer Dame Cicely Saunders

Video biography about Dame Cecily Saunders and her role in improving end-of-life care

    • August 27, 2004

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Madison, Wis., in partnership with Tellens, a documentary and film production company in Evanston, Ill., conducted research for a documentary video on Dame Cicely Saunders of Great Britain, founder of the modern hospice/palliative care movement.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Targeted End-of-Life Projects Initiative.

Key Results

  • The research phase for the documentary consisted of:

    • Conducting in-depth interviews with Dame Cicely Saunders in the spring of 2003 at her home in London and at St. Christopher's Hospice.
    • Developing collaborative relationships with two experts in the field of hospice and palliative care in order to understand Dame Saunders's work in a larger context.
    • Reviewing the literature in the field, including Dame Saunders's personal papers; the Hospice History Project's collection of 150 oral histories of hospice pioneers in the United Kingdom; and seminal publications on the history of hospice and palliative care.
    • Identifying sources of visual material, including photographs of Dame Saunders' patients, television and radio broadcast appearances of Dame Saunders, and photographs collected by the Hospice History Project.