Island Hospice and Healthcare
Since 1979 Island has developed into a centre of excellence that provides quality palliative care services and support to those patients and clients with life threatening illnesses and the bereaved through comprehensive direct care.
Island Hospice Service was founded by Maureen Butterfield. Maureen's teenage daughter Frances, battled with cervical cancer. Frances died in 1977, a few days short of her twentieth birthday. After the loss of her daughter Maureen deeply regretted that in the eight months of her daughter’s illness, the word “death” never entered their conversations and she felt they were never truly prepared for her death. On a consolatory trip to England, Maureen heard about the modern hospice movement. Then, in early 1979, Maureen travelled to a symposium at WITS University to hear Dame Cecily Saunders speak. Saunders founded the first modern hospice (home of rest for the terminally ill) in 1967, providing high quality palliative care in Sydenham, south east London. Maureen returned home to Zimbabwe inspired, and, with a few friends, organised an exploratory gathering in Harare. The response was overwhelming. So, further discussions followed, leading up to the meeting at which the fledgling service was constituted. On the 3rd of May 1979, the first Island meeting was held at UZ to discuss provision of ‘Better End of Life Care’ (EOL). Island is an acronym: Integrated, Significant Living and Dying. The name Island came from John Donne's poem, ‘No Man is an Island.