Since the 1970s, cancer has been the number one cause of death in Hong Kong. Awareness of the needs of dying cancer patients, their families, friends and care givers has grown among small groups of concerned professionals. One of these groups, made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy and members of the public, recognised the need to educate people at all levels of society about the importance of providing good care to the dying.
Sister Gabriel O’Mahony approached the Keswick Foundation (KF) in 1980’s, requesting sponsorship for Professor James Hanratty of St. Joseph Hospice, London, to deliver lectures in Hong Kong. This was the beginning of a long relationship between the newly established Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care (SPHC) and the Keswick Foundation, which eventually resulted in the building of the Bradbury Hospice, the first independent hospice in Hong Kong.
Sponsorship of SPHC by KF began with an Information Office, where the first Home Care Nursing Programme developed, along with research into the needs of the dying. It was soon evident that an independent hospice, away from the busy hospitals, was needed to serve as a centre of learning the art of providing care to the dying. This facility would provide active and coordinated home care and day care programmes to support all cancer patients and their families. Emphasis on holistic care by professionals to relieve physical, psychological, social and spiritual pain is central to the hospice philosophy of care.
KF assisted the SPHC in its efforts to raise funds to build the hospice; SPHC members were introduced to the Bradbury Charitable Trust, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and many other organisations who helped make the Bradbury Hospice a reality.
The Bradbury Hospice was opened in 1992 and situated on A Kung Kok Shan Road in Shatin. It provides excellent and comfortable residential facilities for 26 people with terminal cancer. The construction of the Bradbury Hospice was a concrete step towards the promotion of the concept of palliative care in Hong Kong which is now officially recognised by the government and society after it was funded by KF for three years. The Bradbury Hospice was transferred to the Hospital Authority in 1995.