Vigil program to be piloted by Hospice House is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.


Williamsburg Community Foundation has awarded $5,000 to Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg for the purposes of creating and implementing a vigil program which will be piloted in a specific setting prior to offering the service to the Williamsburg community.

The program will train experienced patient volunteers to provide a comforting presence to those actively dying.

Volunteers will sit with patients in 4-hour shifts during the last 24-48 hours of life, providing companionship, comfort, reassurance and support.

A vigil may be requested in the absence of loved ones, when the family member needs a break from the bedside, or when family members do not wish to be alone with their loved one who is actively dying. The focus is to offer a calm presence that will allow for a positive death experience.

“We are so grateful to the Williamsburg Community Foundation for their support of this program. A vigil program absolutely fits our mission and the needs of this community,” Audrey Smith, executive director of Hospice House stated. “We are encouraged by the enthusiasm with which this initiative has been embraced, not just from the Williamsburg Community Foundation, but by our patient volunteers and community partners.”

Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg has chosen Sentara Williamsburg Regional Health Center as their partner to pilot the program, which is expected to launch in January 2017.

Nurse Executive Donna Wilmoth stated, “Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center is thrilled to be chosen to partner with Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg on their pilot death vigil program. Hospice House has been viewed as a leader in end-of-life care in our community since 1982, and we feel that the partnership will not only benefit our patients and families, but be of great value to our staff as well.”


Hospice House is a 501 (c)(3) organization that is entirely funded by contributions. For more information about Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg, please visit or call 757.253.1220.

Submitted by Janet Reid

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