Mission and Strategy
"Before I came here, the pain was so bad that if anyone came into the room I would say, ‘don't touch me, don't come near me,' but now it seems as if something has come between me and the pain, it feels like a nice thing wrapped around me."
Voice of a patient recorded in 1963
My early research into pain control enabled this young woman to renew important relationships and to end her life in peace. Since then palliative care has made many advances and is spreading worldwide, among different cultures and resources. The original emphasis on the needs of people suffering from persistent cancer made possible innovative research and practice to be carried out and evidence published. However, some problems, such as breathlessness, remain difficult to alleviate and need the type of intensive and sustained research that discovered better treatments for pain. Distress at the end of life afflicts many more people with non cancer diseases. Their needs too call for action based on further research, not only into physical symptoms but into wider aspects of anguish. Families need support and help to draw on their own strengths and patients' understanding of their emotional problems and aid in their spiritual search for meaning, sense of self and the possibility of growth through loss. Cicely Saunders International sets out to make a major contribution in an area of universal need - researching and disseminating further evidence based knowledge in a field that has an impact and importance worldwide.
Cicely Saunders International was established in 2002 in the name of Dame Cicely Saunders, a founder trustee and its President. Dame Cicely is widely acknowledged as the founder of the modern hospice movement and is credited with "mentoring some of the great world leaders in this field" (Professor Eduardo Bruera). Our mission is to promote research to improve the care and treatment of all patients with progressive illness and to make high-quality palliative care available to everyone who needs it - be it in hospice, hospital or home. There is no other charity specifically concerned with carrying out work to identify and promote best practice in palliative care.
Cicely Saunders International pursues its mission by:
- Supporting world-class research in effective, person-centred and spiritually sympathetic forms of palliative care, and developing relevant and robust methods to set an international gold standard of palliative care research.
- Supporting the investigation and promotion of high-quality care for patients with cancer and non-cancer progressive illnesses, and from sections of society which miss out on the best in palliative care.
- Supporting the finest postgraduate and undergraduate education for doctors, nurses and other professionals in the field.
- Constantly promoting public understanding of palliative care and the available treatments and services, and contributing to the development of policy, nationally and internationally, to improve care towards the end of life.