No One Dies Alone companion program
Community Health Network has adopted a new volunteer program, No One Dies Alone, to offer end of life comfort measures to patients who do not have family or friends at their bedside. The program, first implemented at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon, is now a model for compassionate end of life programs in hospitals across the country.
“When I first learned of No One Dies Alone, I was captivated by its simplicity and its compassion,” said Rev. Connie Coy, chaplain at Community Health Network. “We all have a right to dignity, respect and companionship when our life is coming to an end.”
Community’s No One Dies Alone program consists of a corps of volunteers that provides 24-hour companionship to patients who may not have any family members or who may be alone for a period because family members are traveling to the hospital from a distance. During their vigil, companions may hold the hand of the patient, play music, read to the patient, fluff pillows and assist in other comfort care measures as requested by the patient or directed by the nurse. They serve patients in shifts, sitting at the bedside until the patient’s death or a family member arrives.
To be eligible to serve as a companion, individuals must be trained through Community’s volunteer services program or be an employee of the hospital. “No One Dies Alone gives employees the opportunity to provide comfort care to their patients outside of their regular work day,” said Coy.
No One Dies Alone companionship is currently available at Community Hospitals East, North, South and Community Heart and Vascular Hospital.