Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

SatOct 12

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day – October 12, 2024

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day takes place on October 12 with the goal of improving the quality of life for people affected by serious health problems. Those that have life-limiting illnesses have the right to be cared for in the way that best suits their needs and this holiday emphasizes that. It draws attention to that belief in a myriad of ways; one of which is that every second year, a wave of concerts known as Voices for Hospices takes place to entertain and spread joy. It was originally created in 1989 by Sheila Hurton in order to raise funds and public awareness of the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher. It started as a single concert titled “Come and Sing” and it grew to become a worldwide event.

History of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

Throughout time, people have suffered life-limiting illnesses but there wasn’t always a system in place to make sure that their last days were comfortable. In the nineteenth century, the action of hospice care was taken on primarily by women. They were religious and philanthropic volunteers that serviced the sick across countries and continents without knowledge of each other. The attention hospice care would achieve in the next century would be because of these women.

By the twentieth century, more hospitals with hospice care were established. They became so vital that many facilities received more beds and more people joined to help the cause. The Sisters of Charity was an organization in Ireland that helped the impoverished population of Dublin in the nineteenth century, and by the twentieth, they had developed other facilities across the globe. This included St. Joseph’s Hospice, which was critical in the history of palliative care.

In 1967 Cicely Saunders influenced the modern concept of Hospice Care. Dr. Saunders directed St. Christopher’s hospice in England and she was a champion in developing the philosophy of end-of-life care and hospice practices that spread globally. During that time in the US, volunteers were the ones who cared for patients that were dying and many followed her lead.

In 1987, Dr. Declan Walsh established the first hospital-based palliative care center at the Cleveland Center. Medicare authorized formal hospice care in the 1990s and the treatment of such efforts was taken more seriously. Today, there are thousands of hospice agencies across the globe and it continues to grow. The first World Hospice and Palliative Care Day was held in 2005 and it’s been going strong ever since.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day timeline

Women Take the Lead

​The first homes and hospitals are used for the purpose of hospice care pioneered by women.

Sweet Charity

​Sisters of Charity develop hospice facilities across the world.

Palliative Pioneer

Dr. Cicely Saunders influences the modern concept of Hospice Care at St. Christopher's hospice in England.

Hospice Revolution

Hospice becomes an official medical subspecialty and thousands of hospice agencies operate around the world.

Raising Awareness

The first World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is held along with the Voices of Hospice global music event.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day FAQs

What are the types of Palliative care?

There are four main options for end of life care: residential palliative, nursing in a care home, home or hospice, and day care at a hospice.

Who organizes World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

The day is organized by the WHPCA committee.

Where can I donate?

You can donate at

How to Observe World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

  1. The voice within

    Attend a Voices of Hospice event and listen to beautiful music that's sure to uplift you. There are many of these events around the globe and you can find out if one is nearby by going to If you're not close to one, you can still donate to the cause and watch videos of performances online.

  2. Participate in an event

    There are more than 1,000 events centered around hospice awareness that you can get involved in. There are cycle rallies, art exhibitions, and walk-a-thons, and more to choose from. If you can’t physically participate, you can always attend a race as a spectator and root for the community as they go.

  3. Stay connected

    You can subscribe to the Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) newsletter to receive campaign updates and material to help spread the word about hospice and palliative care. And be sure to use and follow the hashtags #WHPCD21 and #LeaveNoOneBehind21 to listen and communicate with others in the community for updates and information.

Five Facts World Hospice And Palliative Care Day

  1. Drawing focus

    Each year has a different theme for the event relating to hospice and palliative care.

  2. Name that theme

    This year’s theme is: Leave No One Behind - equity in access to palliative care.

  3. A helping hand

    Palliative care providers across the globe are asked to lead and participate in palliative care awareness raising events.

  4. More can be done

    Palliative care is not part of universal health coverage or national health systems. WHPCD shines a light on the inequity in access to palliative care across the globe.

  5. Common mistake

    Palliative care is more than end of life care, it is care to help people live well in the time that they have left.

Why World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Is Important

  1. Showing that you care

    Terminal illness is a hard issue to face for patients and loved ones alike. They need all the support they can get to let them know that they’re not alone in this. By joining this community, you can help show that this difficult time can have times of positivity to the lives of people who truly need it.

  2. Showing appreciation to caretakers

    Showing support for caretakers who devote their time and energy to those with life-limiting illnesses helps them out considerably. Jobs like these are often a calling and having the support of people who care helps them do their job better. The more advocacy there is for hospice and palliative care, the more they can apply it to their process that will make things better for the patients they care for.

  3. Advancing life

    When more money is donated to this cause, everyone benefits from it. With more resources, they're able to offer the best service to their patients. It provides them with the flexibility for resource allocation and ensures that the safety of those with terminal illnesses is protected to the best of their ability.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day dates

2023October 14Saturday
2024October 12Saturday
2025October 11Saturday
2026October 10Saturday
2027October 9Saturday
2028October 14Saturday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.