Other Notable Deaths


November 17, 2008


U.S. hospice pioneer

Florence Wald, a former Yale nursing dean whose interest in compassionate care led her to launch the first U.S. hospice program, died Nov. 8 at her Branford, Conn., home, said her daughter, Shari Vogler.

Ms. Wald was dean of the Yale University School of Nursing in the 1960s when she updated its curriculum to include a stronger focus on comfort for dying patients and their families.

Ms. Wald's interest in hospice care was sparked when she heard a lecture by the founder of St. Christopher's Hospice in London. She later left Yale to study at that center.

She returned to organize Connecticut Hospice in 1974 in Branford, widely considered the first U.S. hospice program. Her husband and children also became involved in the hospice movement, Ms. Vogler said.

Ms. Wald's recent work included efforts to bring more hospice care to U.S. prisons and to train inmates as hospice volunteers.

The hospice movement, which includes more than 3,200 programs nationwide, focuses on providing care for terminally ill patients and their families.

Ms. Wald has said that before hospice, many physicians were so focused on the evolving technology of medicine that their attention to patients' needs was being eroded.

"It was difficult for them to give up the treatment even when they saw the patient was going down ... and suffering more," she told the Associated Press at her 1998 induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

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