Simply and profoundly in honour

Honouring people who are dying is what hospice care is all about.

At the Victoria Hospice Inpatient Unit, we also honour people after they have died.

With the consent of loved ones, a gong is sounded to invite everyone – staff, friends, family – to gather in vigil before the person’s body leaves the building. Two people unfold a special handmade quilt and drape the body respectfully.

A member of the staff speaks the person’s name and words of honour for them and their life. Others, including family, may speak as well.

“This patient honoring extends the care, dignity, and compassion that staff have offered the patient, family, and friends while in our care,” Clinical Nurse Leader Tracy McConnell says. “When family and friends are present, we sometimes hear their expressions of gratitude. We witness their tears, and exchange hugs.”

This transitional moment is full of respect, Spiritual Care Coordinator Debra Caravitis says.

“It’s a very intentional time. It’s a time to slow down and be quiet together in community to honour the patient, the family, and the work we are doing. It is simple, yet profound ritual and an important part of our hospice culture,” she says.

“Families who have wanted this ritual to occur appreciate that others come together in gratitude for their loved one.”

Gathering together to honour someone’s life and death touches the heart of everyone involved.

“As long as I have been here, the tears are never far behind my eyes,” Tracy says.

Your generosity helps create an environment that honours the full human experience of living and dying openly and compassionately. Learn more about how you can support patients and families by contacting us at 250-519-1744 or