Virtual memorial service now available for viewingDec. 9, 2021, 9:37 AM
by Matt Batcheldor
For the second year, Vanderbilt Health has held “VUMC Remembers,” a special virtual memorial service to remember patients who have died as well as their families and caregivers. Vanderbilt employees and the general public are invited to watch the approximately 30-minute ceremony, which is now posted at vumcremembers.com.
The Bereavement Committee for Vanderbilt University Hospital (VUH) and Vanderbilt Health organized the virtual event, which honors patients who received care in inpatient settings and in clinics around the region from July 2020 to June 2021. Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has hosted a similar ceremony, Time for Remembering, yearly since 1998.
This year’s VUMC Remembers program features speakers from different hospital departments, staff testimonials of patients at the end of their lives, a reading of loved ones’ names and special music.
Comments include a welcome from Shon Dwyer, MBA, RN, president of VUH; a reflection from Wes Ely, MD, MPH, Grant Liddle Professor of Medicine; and a blessing from the Rev. Patricia Shropshire, MS, MDiv, staff chaplain at VUMC. Staff testimonials are offered by Veleria East, medical receptionist on the Trauma Unit, and Lindsay Grisanti, LMSW, a social worker at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
A moving photo montage of staff holding signs with sentiments such as “You were important to me” is paired with the song “I Remember Everything” by John Prine.
More than 6,000 patient families were invited to participate in the virtual event.
“Our connection with patients who have died was beyond just the care that we provided,” said the Rev. Ian Cullen, MDiv, Palliative Care Chaplain for VUMC and co-chair of the Bereavement Committee. “We’re better because we have known them, cared for them, and we’re grateful for the privilege of having done so.”
Paul Raymond, MSN, RN, Palliative Care Unit manager and co-chair of the Bereavement Committee, said the committee was formed over two years ago with a two-pronged approach — to honor patients’ memories and to acknowledge staff who cared for the patients.
“We really wanted to drive home the message that VUMC is really more than a website, more than a hospital,” he said. “It’s really individuals who drive this work.”
While last year’s program focused on inpatients who died at VUH, this year’s ceremony includes patients from outpatient clinics and those who passed away at home, said Andy Peterson, MMHC, MDiv, director of Pastoral Care and Volunteer Services for Vanderbilt University Hospital and Vanderbilt Health. “We’re trying to reach as many people as possible,” he said.