End-of-Life Project Creates Room for Compassion at Carilion Giles Community Hospital

The Compassion Room at Carilion Giles Community Hospital (CGCH) is meant to help patients at the end-of-life and their families be more comfortable during this tender time. The new room was dedicated on Aug. 25 with a ceremony and reception for employees recognizing the CGCH Auxiliary, which funded the project for $10,000. 

The project was proposed by nurses Shannon Spencer and Christina Lafon. The room provides as near a home-like experience as possible through incorporating personal touches into the design (calming paint palates, artwork, etc.). Other amenities for patients and families include: 

  • Sleeper couch
  • Glider/Rocking Chair
  • Quilt on bed (goes home with family)
  • Mini Refrigerator
  • Coffee maker/container
  • Snacks available in room
  • CD player with soothing music
  • Outside window interests: Bird feeder, flowers

Spencer’s and Lafon’s vision was inspired by Loretta Downs, a nationally recognized speaker, writer and counselor on the subject of supporting positive experiences at the end-of-life, challenging care givers to provide medical, physical, emotional and spiritual care in a comforting environment. 

Veronica Stump, R.N., chief nursing officer, thanked all involved in making this vision a reality, noting that Downs’ dream is to have a room like this in every hospital and nursing home in America. 

“We are proud to say that we have helped her come closer to achieving her dream,” said Stump.

Community Hospital Vice President, Kristie Williams, M.S.N, presented a dedication plaque thanking the auxiliary for their contribution and support for the project, which will be displayed in the room. Also presented was a handcrafted throw quilt for the patient’s bed. Going forward, local quilting groups will continue to supply these, as each quilt used will go home with the families in memory of their loved ones.


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