The Hospice of the Northwest vigil team is made up of a dedicated group of compassionate and loving volunteers who sit by the bedside of actively-dying patients. Many times a patient’s circle of support requests privacy during the dying process; however, there are times when more help is wanted. For example:
- A daughter has spent days at her mother’s bedside. She is exhausted and needs a full night’s sleep.
- A man is on his way to be at his loved one’s side but fears he won’t be able to make it in time. He doesn’t want them to die alone.
- A husband doesn’t want to be the only one in the room when his wife dies.
- A patient doesn’t have family and seems restless whenever no one else in the room.
Each vigil is personalized based upon the patient’s or their circle’s wishes. Vigils often include soft light, LED candles, soothing music, softly spoken encouraging words, comforting touch—such as hand holding or placing a cool washcloth on their forehead—and someone to be with them as they journey from this life.
Our vigil team volunteers often state that their time with patients are some of the most sacred and precious moments of their life. Offering another human comfort, compassion, and dignity in the final days and hours of their life is an honor not taken lightly by our team.
“Our role is to be the calm in the room, to bring peace and compassion with us through our words, our actions, and our presence” says Volunteer Services Manager, Erin Long.
There are currently 14 vigil team members serving our community. Hospice of the Northwest vigil volunteers are provided with 20+ hours of training, as well as the opportunity to train one-on-one with another team member. In addition, Hospice of the Northwest provides monthly support and training meetings for the vigil team.