Connecticut Prison Creates Hospice Care for Inmates
Inmates at a Connecticut prison have joined together to form a hospice providing emotional and physical support to terminally ill fellow prisoners, the Hartford Courant reports. Beginning early next year, the 19 trained inmates, along with mental health workers, medical staff and clergy members, will lend support to dying inmates at MacDougall prison by talking to them, writing letters for them, praying with them and helping to feed and bathe them. The hospice will initially have three to five beds situated in the prison's infirmary. Mitchell Henderson, one of the inmates currently training to give hospice care, said that people facing death are often comforted by companionship. "I know the feelings of someone who's dying; they don't want to be alone," he said. The idea for a prison hospice originated in 1997, when Florence Wald, a former dean of Yale University's School of Nursing, began studying the feasibility of the concept. Wald teamed up with Nealy Zimmerman, who had received a grant, and the two eventually convinced state officials that prison hospices were needed in Connecticut. After MacDougall, organizers plan to bring the hospice program to York prison, the state's only women's prison (Blint, Hartford Courant, 12/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.