In January 2017, Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg launched the pilot of its Final Gifts Vigil Volunteer Program at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center. Through this program, trained volunteers provide bedside support and a caring presence in the final hours of a person’s life.
Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg believes that no one should have to die alone. To that end, the Final Gifts Vigil Program pairs trained and experienced volunteers with patients, who might otherwise die alone, during their final hours.
A vigil may be requested:
- In the absence of loved ones
- When a family member/loved one needs a break from the bedside, or
- When a family member/loved one needs support at the bedside.
Generally, this program is provided during the last 24-48 hours of life. The Final Gifts Program is confidential and free of charge.
Request for a Vigil
Final Gifts Vigil Program services may be requested by medical staff, caregivers, loved ones or the individual nearing death. Vigils take place in the hospital room where the patient is residing. Speak to a nurse to request vigil for your loved one or call 757-253-1220.
The Final Gifts Vigil Program Team
All Hospice House patient volunteers receive 20 hours of initial patient volunteer training which includes a minimum of 5-10 hours of hands-on mentoring and experience. Vigil volunteers also receive additional training specific to providing vigil. Volunteers offer comfort, support, companionship and information. They are trained to alert the medical staff of any changes or concerns. Primarily they are a calming, peaceful presence for the individual and their loved ones.
Vigil volunteers are available on an as needed basis.
- Befriend the client; listen in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality.
- Assist in understanding the process of dying & grieving (physical changes, psychological & spiritual aspects of dying & grieving.)
- Advocate for the client if necessary.
- Be a reassuring presence to patient and family.
- Leaves a written expression of time spent for the family.
For additional questions about the program, contact Debra Podish, Programs Coordinator at 757-253-1220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.