Date of Award

Spring 1980

Document Type



Sociology & Anthropology

First Advisor

Margaret Stuart

Second Advisor

Rev. James McCarthy

Third Advisor

Jack Semmens


Hospice, an alternative method of health care for the dying, is in the beginning stages of development across the nation. Involved in that development are the general public, policy-makers, and healthcare professionals. The medical system is a dynamic social system influencing us all. Our birth, sickness, health, and death are controlled by the social assessment of medical technology. Further, this social organization is professionally controlled by the physician. Any change or interaction in this system is considered dysfunctional if not of iatrogenic origin, a term denoting physician direction. Hospice seeks to transform this predicted social system by incorporating lay persons and human care into this network of professional care and also by returning some of the control to the consumer, the dying patient. Implementation of a hospice program of care in a given community must be based on the basic ideals of the concept and on the community's needs and resources.