11th hour volunteers photo

Established in April 2023, the Eleventh-Hour Program was designed to ensure no patient passes alone in the hospital. The first Eleventh Hour vigil was held on Easter Sunday in 2023. Since then, the companions have participated in 14 vigils in six nursing units at CAMC Memorial and General hospitals.

The nursing staff initiates a vigil if a patient is at the end of their life, on comfort care and has no one to be with them. In other cases, the family may request a break, and the nursing staff will call the operator, who then contacts the Eleventh-Hour Companion team. The companions’ goal is to be with patients continually until they pass, but sometimes, their availability depends on other commitments.

“The companions feel passionate about their service, and their goal is to ensure that no patient dies alone,” said Kelly Anderson, Director of Volunteer Services. “They offer emotional support and companionship, helping patients go through their final moments with dignity and respect.”

The program currently includes 13 Eleventh Hour companions who have undergone extensive training to offer emotional support and companionship to patients who are nearing the end of their lives. The team often receives multiple requests for vigils simultaneously, which can be challenging given the limited number of trained companions and their availability.

More volunteers are needed to help meet the needs of the Eleventh-Hour Program. To apply, please visit camc.org/Volunteer.

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