Dorothy House Hospice Care was set up in 1976, based at the Bath home of its founder Prue Dufour (formerly Clench). A woman of vision, determination and deep faith, she saw a need for care of terminally ill patients in their community, rather than in hospital.
Inspired by the example of St Christopher’s Hospice – which had been set up in London nine years earlier by Dame Cicely Saunders – Prue drew together a small team of nurses who supported people at home. She chose the name Dorothy House for the charity as a reflection of her Christian faith – Dorothy means ‘gift of God’. In 1979, Dorothy House opened its first In-Patient Unit for six people at 162 Bloomfield Road, Bath, as well as a Day Patient Unit.
The next door property at 164 was acquired in 1980 and used as the Education and Administration Centre.
As awareness increased and the value of hospice care became more widely recognised 166 Bloomfield Rd was bought and converted into one unit with 164. As a result, the original house was sold.
By 1990 the team at Dorothy House was truly multi-professional, involving nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, lymphoedema specialists, chaplain, pharmacy and support staff, including large numbers of volunteers.
Over the years Dorothy House has grown to reflect the changing needs of palliative care, and we now provide our services to a population of 550,000 over 700sq miles. There have been many advancements and changes through the years but from the hospice’s beginning to the current day our purpose has remained the same, to provide compassionate care to our community to enable those with life-limiting illness to live well and die well.