Good Shepherd Hospice of Catholic Health Services initiated a vigil volunteer program to help family members who are unable to be by the bedside of dying patients. This cadre of uniquely trained volunteers sits vigil with or offers comfort and support to hospice patients in the inpatient center who are in their final hours of life. The program affords family members and caregivers peace of mind, knowing their loved ones are not alone and that someone is there on their behalf.
Resulting outcomes of the initiative include patient quality of life and enhanced family/caregiver satisfaction and engagement. Staff members view volunteers as an extension of the team and agree using them in this role enhances quality of patient care and their work environment. The use of volunteers has increased and has been expanded to include night and weekend coverage. Additionally, there is a reduction in the cost related to the need for 1:1 staffing at the bedside.