Bedside Visits – Singing for the end of Life

With the lifting of Covid restrictions in England, we are delighted to be able to resume our bedside singing. When you contact us, we’ll clarify the measures and mitigations we have in place to keep you and the Companions safe and visits will only take place when everyone is comfortable with the plan.

For those who do not feel safe to have in person singing, we are still willing and able to offer our songs and companionship to those at the end of life by means of an online platform, should this be helpful and possible.

We also recognise that, because of the pandemic, many people have been unable to visit the bedside of those they love or to meet to mourn them in the usual ways. We would like to offer our songs and solidarity to you too, should you feel this might bring some comfort. Please contact us if you wish to request a visit in either case.

We never charge for our visits, whether in person or online.

Here is an outline to give you a sense of how a bedside visit usually goes:

At any time, people who would like to have singing at their own or a friend or family member’s bedside can contact their local group and arrange for a small number of Companions (usually between two and four) to come and sing. This may take place in a family home, residential home, hospital, hospice or wherever the person happens to be. There is no charge for this, though if people want to make a donation to Companion Voices they are free to do so.

bedside

Courage Sister, Courage Brother – you do not walk alone
We will walk with you, and sing your spirit home…
~ Buddhist text. Music by Olefemi Hughes.

How to Arrange a Bedside or Online Visit

  • Please contact us and let us know the best time and method to call you back
  • We will be in touch to arrange a visit and answer any questions which may arise

What to expect from a Bedside Visit
(Most of this also applies to online visits.)

  • Once a visit has been arranged, you can change your mind at any point, just let your Companion Voices contact know and we can reschedule if you would like to.
  • On the day a Companion Voices member will contact you to confirm you would still like us to visit (we understand that things can change on a day to day basis and your loved one may not feel up to it, may have other people visiting, medical things to take care of etc etc).
  • There will be 3 or 4 of us singing, maybe more if you have indicated there is enough space.
  • If you will be there during our first visit, perhaps you could meet us outside and show us where to go. If not, you can just let us know and we will make our own way in.
  • We will gather outside your loved one’s room and then enter together, usually humming.
  • We sing songs that have been chosen to serve the purpose of creating a soundscape that will be comforting, relaxing and undemanding. To this end, they are simple and repetitive, drawn from a wide range of different traditions, and may have words in other languages.
  • We may sometimes leave  a short space between songs, to let them settle.
  • You don’t need to do anything for us or make conversation during our visit, feel free to sit and absorb the singing with your loved one.
  • Tears are welcome, so please don’t feel you need to keep anything in.
  • Visits last from 15-30 minutes, depending on the individual circumstances.
  • At any time you can signal for us to leave, we will always follow your lead as you know your loved one better than we do.
  • At the end of the visit we will leave quietly. You do not need to ‘see us out’ unless of course you wish to.