"Total Pain": Cicely Saunders and the History of Emotions

23 Jul 2020 17:30 - 18:30



Join us for an online talk by Joseph Wood on Cicely Saunders and the history of end of life care.
Hospice pioneer Cicely Saunders championed better end-of-life care by acknowledging the emotional impact of a terminal diagnosis. She became friends (and, once or twice, fell in love) with dying patients and encouraged others to follow her example in listening to patients' descriptions of pain. In 1964, she introduced the term “total pain” to show how a dying patient’s pain is a whole overwhelming experience - not only physical but also emotional, social and spiritual.

In this talk, researcher Joseph Wood explains Saunders’ ideas about 'total pain' in the context of her life and work. Although Saunders was a doctor when she established St Christopher's, the world's first research-led hospice, in 1967, she had started work as a nurse during the Second World War. The talk will explore how Saunders' mixed career background allowed her to advocate for a new way of appreciating the experience of dying patients. Joint Chief Executive of St Christopher’s Hospice, Heather Richardson, will also look at the importance of Saunders’ work to end of life care today.

Please register to attend, and a link will be circulated in advance with instructions on how to join the meeting. All tickets must be booked individually.

Image: Cicely Saunders, King's College London Archive with thanks to Cicely Saunders International, taken from the RCN History of Emotions in Nursing exhibition.


Page last updated - 31/10/2020