Remembering Longtime Hospice Volunteer & VNA Health Group Friend: Diane B. Vigilante

Diane Vigilante was the quintessential hospice volunteer. A vibrant, energetic individual who embodied the spirit of volunteerism. In her role as a hospice companion, Diane easily engaged patients and families with her open spirit and calm reassuring nature. She provided a listening ear, a supportive presence and a steadfast devotion to the needs of each patient. She embraced each new patient assignment with enthusiasm and an open heart.  Her interpersonal skills were evident from her very first assignment, and she brought that same enthusiasm and warmth to each patient she visited over the next 21 years.

Diane met each patient “where they were.” She found their interests, their passions and she would build a connection based on those themes. Diane brought books to read, music to play, news articles to share. She researched their interests so she could ask questions and share their passion. Patients and family members would quickly be captivated by Diane’s bright spirit, they would grow to eagerly anticipate her arrival, and soon she was being treated almost as a member of the family.  Diane was known for saying, “Oh, what a lovely patient! Oh, what a lovely family! I just love them!” And she did, she loved them all, every family she encountered!

“Diane Vigilante mentored  with wisdom, kindness and love, and was a tenacious advocate for hospice and volunteers.  She was passionate about end of life care, embracing the concept of hospice as part of life with a generous and joyful spirit.    Diane’s unwavering dedication to sharing her empathy, compassion, and remarkable intuitive sense with a multitude of Hospice families over the years, will prevail as an inspiration for us all.”

Pauline DePalma, Director of Volunteer Services, VNA Health Group

Diane was not only a blessing for our patients but for the VNA, the hospice staff, and her fellow volunteers as well.  As the wife of an agency trustee, Diane was an ambassador for our agency and its hospice program for more than 30 years. Even before she became an “official” hospice volunteer, Diane was spreading the word about hospice. She was a steadfast presence at annual meetings, hospice memorials, and fundraising events. She was a recruiter and mentor of volunteers. Diane served as a dedicated and sensitive companion to hospice patients and is considered “The Matriarch” of the VNAHG Hospice Volunteer Program.

Hospice volunteers see their role as walking a patient home. Diane shared the walk with so many, giving so much of her heart and time, it is comforting to imagine Diane being greeted by all those with whom she shared a journey. As a strong woman who embodied grace, character and integrity, Diane was a role model for many of us. Diane Vigilante was a beacon of light to everyone she encountered, and she always found the light in others. Her beautiful spirit will be remembered with appreciation and love.

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