Vigil Volunteer

Dan Kula, a volunteer with Vanderbilt Vigil Volunteers, visits with patient Gwenthian Hewitt. The program provides support for seriously ill patients at VUMC who might not have a loved one available to be at their bedside.

Vigil Volunteers seeks those with compassion to spare

Dan Kula remembers entering a patient’s room on the Palliative Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and immediately sensing the man’s agitation, which can be a symptom for those who are terminally ill.

Vigil Volunteers program expanding to Medical ICU

After a successful 2016 pilot in the 16-bed Palliative Care Unit, the Vanderbilt Vigil Volunteers (V3) program — which pairs a volunteer with dying patients who either have no known family or friends, or whose family and friends are unable to be with them — is expanding into the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) in early 2017.

New initiative pairs volunteers with palliative care patients

As a nurse working with critically ill patients with orders to not resuscitate, Rebecca Hixson, R.N., has often lingered in a patient’s room to complete her routine charting if she felt they were nearing death and no family or friends were around. But Hixson now hopes a new volunteer program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) will mean these patients will always have someone by their side at the end of life.