The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema: Meredith Sinel On Emotional PPE and Hospice Care During the Pandemic


From graduate school, she was appointed to work on the Women’s Campaign where she collaborated with Jewish women from around the state of Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts, assisting in leadership development and strengthening women’s voices in philanthropy. 

After her first child was born, she pursued her Chaplaincy dream and worked in Miriam Hospital’s cancer unit and surgical intensive care units during her CPE residency. She worked for over 2 years at the VNA Care New England as a Hospice Chaplain and for the past 6 years (and currently) as a behavioral health clinician in Emergency Departments. 

Her unique perspective and ability to help others suffering from mental health and/or addiction and serving those individuals at end of life, is the reason Meredith says she feels honored to do this holy work.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema: A Conversation with The Rev. Dr. Andrew Goodhead on Memorialization and Free Writing.


Dr. Goodhead is a Methodist Minister with 14 years Church based experience gained in several localities throughout the UK, both urban and rural. In his role at St Christopher’s Andrew is concerned to ensure that all End-of-Life Care professionals have the skills and confidence to offer spiritual assessment and ongoing support to all patients and their families. 

He has a particular interest in the concept of spiritual pain as a way of understanding spiritual need. For patients with faith needs Andrew is developing the pastoral and religious role of the Spiritual Care Lead. Andrew graduated in 2014 with the King’s College, London, MSc in Palliative Care. His dissertation explored the experiences and attitudes of community clergy in caring for dying people. 

Andrew has published his thesis with Wipf & Stock (USA) under the title A Crown and a Cross; the Origins, Development and Decline of the Methodist Class Meeting in Eighteenth Century England. 

In November 2010, Mortality published the results of Andrew’s research into memorialization: A textual analysis of memorials written by bereaved individuals and families in a hospice context. In July 2011, The European Journal of Palliative Care published Physiotherapy in Palliative care: the interface between function and meaning, this is a philosophical examination of how physical ability affects the way in which meaning can be made. 

His most recent paper, (accepted by Palliative Medicine) based on his MSc dissertation study is ‘I think you just learnt as you went along’ – Community clergy’s experiences of and attitudes towards caring for dying people: a pilot study [in process of publication]. Andrew is a co facilitator for the Spirituality Education Group on the European Association of Palliative Care and a member of the Spirituality Taskforce of the EAPC.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema: A Conversation with Cathy Siebold about the early years of the hospice movement


In this interview, Cathy Siebold who has witnessed firsthand the evolution of hospice care since its modern incarnation in the 1960s, presents a balanced and objective analysis of the movement’s accomplishments and failings.

You can also read more about that in her book “The Hospice Movement: Easing Death’s Pains.” 

She uses social movement theory to frame her discussion. Siebold traces the bell curve of growth, maturity, and decline that, to a point, has characterized the hospice movement. Founded by a diverse group of religious leaders, nurses, social workers, and laypeople, the movement was galvanized by the plight of a silent majority: dying patients, often isolated from family and friends in a hospital where intensive, last-ditch efforts to “cure” them were valued more than their own comfort and wishes. In its struggle to survive, the movement coalesced fairly quickly around the goal of securing eligibility for reimbursement from federally funded and private insurers. The movement attained this goal in the 1980s, giving the entire concept of hospice care legitimacy and, ironically, a secure place within the same health care system early hospice activists had struggled to escape. 

You can purchase the book here on amazon.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema: A Conversation with Film Producer Terence Youk on his film “The Pioneers of Hospice.”


Terence Youk began work in film and television production in1986, first as a composer and later writing, producing, directing, and editing independent documentaries, crafting promotional media and producing news spots for a variety of broadcast clients. Under the auspices of the production company, Brook Hollow Productions, Inc., he has collaborated with carefully selected creative and technical associates according to the unique requirements of each production. His programs for broadcast have aired on PBS, A&E, the Wisdom Channel as well as independent distributors of educational and presentation films crafted for nonprofit institutions, including: Thich Nhat Hanh & Plum Village, National Hospice Foundation, Institute of East-West Medicine and many others. He also has served as a freelance producer for several new gathering entities, including CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and ABC news. EXPERIENCEProducer, production & editor credits include National Geographic (Most Mad Seas), A&E (Most Mad Seas), Wisdom Channel (Thich Nhat Hanh: Roots of Peace)( now defunct), PBS National (Body & Soul), CT Public television (Backyard Bird Watcher), Outdoor Life Channel (Fly Fishing in the East). News Gathering: CNN, NBC News, MSNBC, ABC news. Promotional media content: National Hospice Foundation, NHPCO, VNA of Vermont, NH VNA & Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Award-winning independently produced films include: Thich Nhat Hanh: Roots of Peace, Numen: The Nature of Plants and Pioneers of Hospice & the Birth of Modern Hospice and The Next Dali Lama? (Director Mickey Lemle) released in 2017 (served as assistant editor). You can find more of Terence Youk’s work on his website HERE.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema: Florence Wald’s early years and the state of care for the terminally ill in the 1930s


Saul Ebema: In Latin, the word hospice means to host a guest or stranger; Florence Wald, centered her life on hosting a dignified end of life process that honored the patient’s personhood. Her ideas around death and dying led to the formation of the first modern hospice in the United States in 1974. Because of her, there are thousands of hospice programs around the country- serving millions of patients and families.

Florence’s pioneering efforts have forever changed the heart of the American society to accept and engage in an end-of-life process that she described as “appropriate, understanding, and natural.”

And in 1998, she took her rightful place in the National Women’s Hall of Fame with legends such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, and Florence’s idol, Lillian Wald.

You are now listening to Personhood! The story of Florence Wald and the Hospice movement – Episode One and I am your host Saul Ebema  

On April 6, 1917, just 13 days before Florence Wald was born, the United States decided to enter World War I. President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech to Congress on April 2, 1917 asking for them to declare war on Germany. In his speech he said that the U.S. would go to war to “fight for the ultimate peace of the world.” And on April 6, 1917- the US military marched to war.

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Saul Ebema: When World War I initially broke out across Europe in 1914, it was mainly between the central powers led by Germany, Austria, and Hungary against the Allied countries led by Britain, France, and Russia.

At the start of the war, President Woodrow Wilson declared that the United States would remain neutral.

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Saul Ebema: Just as America went into the battlefield against Germany, on April 19th, 1917, Florence Wald was born into a German family to Mr. and Mrs. Schorske in a divided world. Although the Schorske family were second-generation Americans, their values and culture were heavily influenced by their German heritage.

Before the war started, the Schorskes spoke German at home so the children would be bilingual. However, during the war, fear of isolation turned them to English speaking.

Deeply rooted in Bronx, New York, The Schorskes exposed their children from an early age to the ideas of kindness, love, care, and equality for all.

Barb Newton: In interviews and presentations, Florence often said that her parents were members of the socialist party and as such, she was exposed to a variety of social justice-based causes from a young age.

Her parents often volunteered to teach English to the immigrants on New York’s Lower East Side and raised Florence and her brother Carl to show concern for others and advocate for social justice.

Saul Ebema: This upbringing deeply rooted in the ideas of universal equality and compassion, would ingrain Florence with deep-seated beliefs about the world and how people should fundamentally be treated. These concepts would later directly influence her practices around hospice care.

Danelle Shoemaker: Despite of her generally positive upbringing, life was not always perfect in Florence’s early childhood. She experienced a number of health issues as a young child that required frequent hospitalizations.

In 1926, when Florence was 7 years old, her family traveled to Florida to facilitate Florence’s recovery from an episode of life-threatening pneumonia.

On the return trip home, they stopped in Washington, DC, and there Florence was diagnosed with scarlet fever.

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Brian Mackender: Scarlet Fever was a leading cause of death in children during the early 20th century. When a child was found to have scarlet fever, they went through weeks of isolation in the hospital.

Saul Ebema: For 7-year-old Florence, this meant weeks of isolation in Garfield Hospital. Florence later described that experience as being trapped in a “vintage Civil War hospital.”

Barb Newton: This was the first time Florence had been separated from her family, and it was a challenge for everyone. Her private nurse, Eunice Biller, from Richmond, Virginia, cared for Florence like she was her own child. Eunice Biller understood the impact of scarlet fever on Florence and did everything to keep her spirits up. In addition to her care, she provided spiritual support, music therapy, art and craft and toys for Florence to play with.

Saul Ebema: Florence would later reflect that it was the care of her nurse, Eunice Biller that made her “feel like a person, not a patient with a contagious disease.”

Danelle Shoemaker: When Florence’s mother visited, due to the isolation policy at the hospital, she was not allowed into the hospital. But Eunice Biller, her nurse would carry Florence to the window, where Florence would wave to her mother 3 floors down.

From this time forward, Florence was committed to becoming a nurse. Her favorite pastime as a child became playing nurse to the dolls she had at home.

Saul Ebema: It was that kind of compassionate care which valued the sense of personhood that would later evolve into the hospice philosophy of care.

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Saul Ebema: When Florence was 10 years old, the family traveled to Germany to reconnect with their roots and visit with the extended family. She loved it there.

In 1932, Florence and her mother returned to visit family in Berlin- this time, they found an entirely different Germany. The Nazis were promoting anti-Semitic activities and organizing pro-Hitler rallies. The country seemed to be filled with unexpected outbursts of hate and violence towards the Jewish citizens.

This validated what the Schorskes had been reading in the U.S. papers and led them to help Jewish families immigrate to America.

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Saul Ebema: In 1934 when Florence was 17 years old, she decided to go to college.

Barb Newton: From a young age, Florence was always a determined girl. So, when she broke the news about her desire to go to college to her father, he was not happy. Her father, like many men of his generation did not believe that women should go to college, and he discouraged her from doing so.

Remember, this was also the period of the great depression in America, but her family had the means and could afford her college education.

Saul Ebema: Florence was not the person to easily take no for an answer. After some convincing, Florence’s dad allowed her to attend Barnard College and live at home.

Barb Newton: Florence however, had another idea. She chose to attend—Mount Holyoke College—which meant she would live hours away from home in South Hadley, MA. Her father was not happy with her college choice, but he allowed Florence to begin a new and independent life.

Saul Ebema: Meanwhile, the American healthcare system that she would later reform, was being hit hard by the great depression.

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Saul Ebema: Patients and donor organizations could no longer afford to make donations to voluntary hospitals and those hospitals struggled to stay afloat. Many people felt hopeless, like they were living in a boulevard of broken dreams.

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Brian Mackender: Approximately 20,000 beds and 418 hospitals were withdrawn from use during that time, and private institutions were forced to take on some of the burden to care for sick patients.”[1]

This difficult period led to a social consciousness that called for action to help improve the care for people with tuberculosis, and those with terminally illness.

In an article that appeared in Hospitals: A Magazine for the Hospitals in 1936, stated that the system of care for the terminally ill was categorized as inadequate or nonexistent care.[2]

Abrams in his book, “Spitting is Dangerous,” writes that doctors did not want to be surrounded by terminally ill patients because it showed the limitations of their skills and of the medical world.

Saul Ebema: If a patient was deemed “incurable” at any point during the treatment process, they were immediately discharged.  In fact, patients that fell under this classification were often refused admission to the hospital entirely because of the “incurable policy.”

Danelle Shoemaker: The incurable policy was actually similar to the current practice of triage. During disasters or large-scale emergencies, responders designate “color tags” for patients based on the priority of their immediate care and transport.

Patients who are expected to die are given black tags, matching those of patients who have already died, and are only treated and transported after all other patients have received care, including those with non-life-threatening conditions.4

The mantra behind this system is provision of the “greatest good for the greatest number of people,” which often entails giving priority to some patients while others are neglected. 5

Saul Ebema: Some historians suggest that the refusal to admit terminally ill patients to the hospital in those times was motivated by self-serving motives. They believe that the incurable policy existed as an assurance of low mortality rates, during a time when hospitals had reputations to build.

If hospitals avoided admission of those patients expected to die, they could boast of higher cure rates than their competitors, and patients who could afford to pay would be more likely to choose their hospital for care. More paying patients, of course, meant better business for the hospital.

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Saul Ebema: In those times, terminally ill patients without money or family were sent to the almshouse as a last resort.

Brian Mackender: Almshouses were public charity centers created to house the chronically ill.

While almshouses were intended as refuges for those close to death, they were typically primitive, unpleasant, and were unable to provide real treatment or pain relief.

Dependence on almshouses was intended more to keep the dying off of the streets than to help them obtain a comfortable death, and was reserved for patients who were very poor, homeless, or without family to care for them.

Saul Ebema: Tuberculosis patients who were terminally ill were sent to sanatoriums.

Here is a piece from the Oregon experience

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Saul Ebema: In the eyes of the medical community in the 1930s, late-stage tuberculosis, was every bit a hopeless condition and the presence of tuberculosis patients in hospitals was seen as pointless, even outright dangerous.

It was argued that patients with tuberculosis, wasted space and resources that could be used for other more treatable cases. More importantly, they were considered infectious and could spread the disease to other people in the hospital.

The solution to the rejection of tuberculosis patients led to the creation of sanatoriums.  

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Saul Ebema: Tom Walsh, in his book “Community Health,” records a quote from William Spear, a doctor at the Oakdale Sanatorium near Iowa City, Iowa. William Spear described his experience with open-air porches as follows:

“When I arrived, they were behind the times in terms of surgical treatment of tuberculosis (Tuh bur kyuh low suhs). Patients were forced to stay in bed in open-air cottages. You froze them in the wintertime and roasted them in the summertime. Patients didn’t leave their beds unless it was absolutely necessary.”

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Saul Ebema: The location of sanatoriums tended to be away from towns and railroads and at higher elevations. The geographical isolation made sanatoriums difficult to reach for visitors. Even if visitors could reach the sanatorium, it was often discouraged.

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Saul Ebema: The avoidance of patients with cancer, the other prominent “incurable” disease at the time, was just like that of tuberculosis. Unlike tuberculosis, cancer was not fended off and it was rarely beaten.

Brian Mackender: Survivors were usually those who had undergone extensive surgery and even then, the disease could return. Due to its high fatality rates and the lack of promise in its treatments, medical authorities like the American Medical Association were reluctant to address the disease, and for the most part, its address was seen as a waste of medical time. The majority of care for terminally ill cancer patients was left to religious associations and took place in almshouses or centers resembling hospitals. A few large centers like Calvary Hospital in New York City existed to provide charity comfort care for cancer patients and were staffed by nuns rather than physicians.

Saul Ebema: The 1930s was a tough time for the terminally ill! With the exception of the government creating the National Cancer Institute in 1937, little progress was made in caring for the terminally ill. Regardless of where the death occurred, in the first half of the 20th century, the dying process was not considered a part of medicine. It lacked the sense PERSONHOOD!

End notes

This podcast is written and produced by Saul Ebema. Our historians are Barb Newton, Danelle Shoemaker, and Brian Mackender. This is the first of many episodes to talk about Florence Wald and the Hospice movement in the United States.

This podcast is recorded at Audiohive podcast studios in Joliet, IL and our studio engineer is Brian Mackender.

[1] John Gabriel. “The Hospital and the Changing Social Order,” 17.

[2] Ernst P. Boas, “A Community Program for the Care of the Chronic Sick,” Hospitals: A Magazine for the Hospitals of the United States and Canada February (1936): 18-19.

[3] Carl Voegtlin, “Approaches to Cancer Research,” National Cancer Institute Journal 1 (1940): 15.

(4) Sarah E. Pajka, “Doctors, Death, and Denial: The Origins of Hospice Care in 20th Century America.” 2017.

(5) Beth P. Houser and Kathy N. Player, “Pivotal Moments in Nursing: Ladies who changed the path of a profession.” Volume 11, 2007.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema: A Conversation with Charles James Parker

In today’s episode, Saul Ebema sits down to talk remotely with Charles James Parker- the new Director of Hospice Division for the Spiritual Care Association.
Here is a little insight about Charles James Parker.
• Originally from Long Island NY
• Prior Active-Duty Air Force (over 17 years)
• Ministry over 12 years
• Chaplaincy background includes: Acute Care, Oncology, Palliative Care, and Hospice.
• Currently serves as a hospice chaplain/bereavement coordinator in Biloxi MS.
• Adjunct Professor with the University of Theology and Spirituality.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema: Florence Wald and the care for the terminally ill in the 1940s and 50s


Saul Ebema: Florence Wald received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physiology and sociology from Mount Holyoke College in 1938 and immediately enrolled in the 30-month nursing program at Yale University.

However, by the time Florence went to Yale University School of Nursing, there was beginning to be a shift in philosophy of care where the primary focus was on the disease, and not on the patient. This disease orientation was a result of the rapidly growing knowledge in medical science that was overshadowing everything else at the time.

You are listening to Personhood. The story of Florence Wald and the Hospice movement. This is episode 2- “the care of the terminally ill in the 1940s and 50s” and I am your host- Saul Ebema.

As American lifestyle shifted into high gear after the great depression, dance and music styles did as well. The upbeat tempos of swing music seemed to match the mood of the country. As the economy boomed, the people danced.

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Saul Ebema: While the dance music got louder and fun, world events got louder and dangerous.

The Second World War had already started in September of 1939 in Europe. At first, the United States remained officially neutral in the conflict.

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Saul Ebema: Even if the draft was not popular, in hindsight, it helped the United States to be ready in case of an attack. It was not long after that the Japanese empire ended America’s isolation from the war with a surprise attack.

While Americans were going through their day, all of a sudden, all the media channels were interrupted. Those who were listening to the baseball game between the Dodgers and the Giants over the radio where interrupted by this message.

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Saul Ebema: Japan had staged a surprise attack on American military installations in the Pacific. The most devastating strike came at Pearl Harbor. In a two-hour attack, Japanese warplanes sank or damaged 18 warships and destroyed 164 aircrafts. Over 2,400 servicemen and civilians lost their lives. President Roosevelt knew that something had to be done.

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Saul Ebema: As American soldiers marched on to war, the president acted as pastor in chief and led the entire country through prayer.

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Saul Ebema: And off- America went to war.

Despite of the fact that America was in the second world war, the medical arena in the early 1940s was filled scientific discovery and a growing faith in medical authority. That faith in medicine was even strengthened by the development of injectable penicillin.

This new development showed promise in medical progress. Then there was the development of more anti-tuberculosis therapies that enabled the disease to be controlled. Not long after that, sanatoriums for tuberculosis patients were no longer necessary.

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Barb Newton: As medicine progressed, death came to be discussed only in terms of its avoidance, and any other conversation on the topic, at least from the American Medical Association, was practically nonexistent. Instead, articles regarding terminal diseases focused on symptoms and new treatment options rather than outcomes or mortality rates. Despite acknowledgment by at least some specialties in the medical profession that death was a part of patient care, the American Medical Association at that time was not willing to make this concession of inadequacy.

Saul Ebema: As a powerful coalition representing the entirety of the medical profession, the American Medical Association was the medical authority of the time, and their refusal to acknowledge dying patients greatly influenced society’s perception of terminal care.41 In the eyes of the medical profession, however, if it could not be visibly cured, it was not a medical concern, and discussion of such conditions was seen as counterproductive to medical efforts. To acknowledge dying was to admit that medicine had failed, and that the authority which the public had assigned to the medical profession was not deserved.

Veronica Drase: With the heavy focus on disease during that time, Florence was dismayed that nursing was lost in the treatment of the disease, and she questioned if she had made a major career mistake.

While still questioning her choice of career, she went on to work for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Initially, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York was patient focused. That is what was attractive to Florence.

However, after their reorganization, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York took on a physician driven model of care that focused more on the disease than the patient. Florence found physicians were unprepared to accept her vision of care. She remained with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York for 2 years (1941-43) but left dissatisfied. For Florence, the art of nursing was being lost to the science of medicine, so she quit.

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Saul Ebema: Florence had not anticipated how nursing would be heavily influenced by the medical model that focused on the disease and symptom treatment rather than the patient focused model of care. She left the nursing profession in 1944. Around that time, the Second World War was raging, and it was a difficult emotional time. Florence wondered if her beliefs about life and medicine fit the times.

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Barb Newton: After that, Florence did the unthinkable and enlisted in the Army. She felt an obligation to help the military men and women who were fighting the atrocities of Hitler. Ironically, Florence was assigned to a small maternity ward at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Eighteen months later, the war ended, and so did her military service.

Veronica Drase: During her 8-year sabbatical from nursing, Florence became a clinical research assistant at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital on a surgical metabolism unit. It was here that she met her husband to-be, Henry Wald, one of Florence’s research subjects who was in officer’s candidate school.

Florence and Henry dated 3 years before he proposed marriage to her in 1948. Henry had completed his military service and had graduated from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC with a degree in engineering. Because Florence’s father was dying, her mother had breast cancer, and her professional path was uncertain, she declined Henry’s proposal and there- the relationship mutually ended.

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Saul Ebema: In Florence’s years as a researcher at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, the medical landscape was changing. In 1946, the Hill-Burton Act was passed and with it came the campaign to build more hospitals.

Barb Newton: With the building of hundreds of hospitals around the country due to the Hill Burton Act, hospital care for the sick became the norm instead of home care. This led to a new turn of events because more people started dying in the hospitals instead of at home. While the establishment of many large hospitals by 1950 was a big accomplishment for the country, for the dying, it resulted in a difficult and painful journey.

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Veronica Drase: Where once families gathered around the deathbed at home, dying patients now found themselves alone in ICUs tethered to machines. The denial of mortality also reinforced the most gruesome features of death and dying. Unable to face their own anxieties, doctors prolonged life long after the hope of recovery had ended and failed to communicate honestly with the dying.

Families hid behind falsely cheerful demeanors or withdrew entirely, thus heightening patient’s sense of isolation. In addition, Intensive Care Unit regulations at the time severely restricted the presence of relatives who wished to keep deathbed vigils.

Saul Ebema: Although there was plenty of space for the dying in those hospitals, the hospital administrators did not demand the delivery of adequate care for the dying. Within the medical staff, there was this attitude that death signaled a physician’s failure. This led to terminally ill patients being largely ignored by the medical staff.

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Saul Ebema: Then came the 1950s!

The 1950s were marked by the post-World War II boom. America had already cemented its status as the ultimate superpower. The economy was booming, and the fruits of this prosperity led to people being able to afford–new cars and suburban houses. The middle class became stable and of course, rock and roll music became a big thing.

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Saul Ebema: Rock and roll music celebrated themes such as young love, freedom, and self-discovery. For Florence, this meant pursuing a second master of science from Yale—this time in psychiatric nursing.

Barbara Newton: Upon completing her psychiatric nursing master’s degree from Yale University in 1956, Florence was invited to join the Rutgers University faculty. This opportunity was particularly appealing because Rutgers was beginning a master’s program in psychiatric nursing. More importantly, she would have the privilege of working with Hildegard Peplau. For Florence, she was finally in the right spot, at the right time.

Saul Ebema: Hildegard Peplau was a visionary nurse leader who was enhancing communication and creating the scientific foundation of the patient-nurse relationship. Florence enjoyed working as her assistant and she continued to develop her own skills and theories that would later influence her work in hospice care.

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Saul Ebema: In 1959, Florence officially became the fourth dean of Yale University’s School of Nursing.

Veronica Drase: Florence also had a major personal triumph as a result of being named dean—after 10 years, she reconnected with Henry Wald. As Henry was sitting in a coffee shop, the man next to him had a newspaper open to an article and picture announcing Florence’s deanship. Henry had been married for nearly a decade and, with two children (Shari and Joel), had recently lost his wife in a car accident. He couldn’t believe he had found Florence for the second time in his life.

In 1959, Florence, at 40, and Henry, at 35, met again and soon married. Florence was delighted to also have found two wonderful children, who were 6 and 8 at the time, to complete a family.  

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Saul Ebema: Although there were no major changes in the 1950s regarding care for the terminally ill. A group of Psychologists and psychiatrists, begun to openly talk about the subject of death and dying.

Barb Newton: In 1956, psychologist Herman Feifel organized a symposium at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association to address ‘The Concept of Death and Relation to Behavior.’

Soon after that, articles begun to emerge in both national and state medical journals urging physicians to restore dignity to the dying. A major way was to focus less on prolonging life and more on improving its quality.

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Saul Ebema: In 1959, McGraw-Hill released the book, The Meaning of Death, which later went on to receive international acclaim and became a big inspiration for the modern hospice movement. 

The Meaning of Death finally called attention to the problem that had affected the medical profession for over half a century, and demonstrated that, by the second half of the twentieth century, at least some medical professionals had come to acknowledge the denial of death as a detriment to quality care and many agreed that U.S. physicians rarely devoted full attention to care of the terminally ill. 

They often turned away from their patients after realizing that they could not cure them. Terminally ill patients felt isolated, abandoned by their doctors, and able to see family only during rigidly enforced hospital visiting hours.

In the 1940s and 50s, the dying process was still not considered a part of medicine. It continued to lack the sense PERSONHOOD!

End notes

Saul Ebema: This podcast is written and produced by Saul Ebema. Our historians are Barb Newton, and Veronica Drase.

This podcast is recorded at Audiohive podcast studios in Joliet, IL and our studio engineer is Brian Mackender.

Thank you for listening!

[1] John Gabriel. “The Hospital and the Changing Social Order,” 17.

[2] Ernst P. Boas, “A Community Program for the Care of the Chronic Sick,” Hospitals: A Magazine for the Hospitals of the United States and Canada February (1936): 18-19.

[3] Carl Voegtlin, “Approaches to Cancer Research,” National Cancer Institute Journal 1 (1940): 15.

(4) Sarah E. Pajka, “Doctors, Death, and Denial: The Origins of Hospice Care in 20th Century America.” 2017.

(5) Beth P. Houser and Kathy N. Player, “Pivotal Moments in Nursing: Ladies who changed the path of a profession.” Volume 11, 2007.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema A conversation with Katy Butler


Katy Butler is also a thought leader in the national movement for medical reform.  A popular speaker on doctor-patient communication and the choices families face near the end of life, Katy has given keynotes and Grand Rounds at Harvard Medical School, Kaiser Permanente, UCSF, and elsewhere. 

Born in South Africa and raised in Oxford, England, Katy came to America as a girl, earned a BA from Wesleyan University, and was a staff reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker; Mother Jones; Scientific American,Atlantic,, Tricycle, Psychotherapy Networker; Best American Essays, and Best American Science Writing.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema A Conversation with Dr. Shirli Regev


She wrote a spiritual life coaching book, named “A Journey to the Center of your Soul”, and together with Dr. Gil Tivon they wrote the following books: “The Ten Commandments – Ten steps to your spiritual self-fulfillment”, “Fit to Fight – Empowering Women’s Challenges and Journey”, and “It’s not a Dream to Change your Past.”

Together, Dr. Shirli Regev Tivon and Dr. Gil Gershon Tivon are the CEOs of the Life’s Wisdom Kabbalah, Spiritual and Mystical Center for Studies, Consultations, Life Coaching, Therapies, and Diagnosis.

The Hospice Chaplaincy Show with Saul Ebema The Rev. Dr. Andrew Goodhead on the legacy of Dame Cicely Saunders and St. Christopher’s Hospice.


Dame Cicely Saunders was born in 1918, the oldest of three children.  She was educated at Roedean School (1932 to 1937) and then went to St Anne’s College Oxford to read PPE.  The war intervened and with the sense that she wanted to do something more useful, she left to study nursing at St Thomas’ Hospital, qualifying in 1944.  After the war, she returned to St Anne’s and in one year completed her degree and got a Diploma in Public and Social Administration passing with distinction, then moved on to become a Lady Almoner.

Her interest in palliative care and pain control developed early.  From 1945 as an Almoner and then working in hospice care as a volunteer nurse, she was involved with the aftercare of patients with terminal illness.  She saw what was needed, particularly better pain control, and started planning a specialized hospice in the late 1950s.

Cicely Saunders opened the St. Christopher’s – the first modern hospice in 1967. Cicely planned that St Christopher’s would be the first research and teaching hospice linking expert pain and symptom control, compassionate care, teaching and clinical research, pioneering the field of palliative care.