No one likes to talk about death and dying but for some people, they have to face it alone. Now, Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis will make sure no one has to face that fate by themselves.
“We deal with people who have serious illnesses and for many of them, it is toward the end of their life,” said Tom Whitehead, Wishard Hospital Administrator.
“There are many patients that we treat here at Wishard who are alone, who have no family, who have no friends and it's important to show them that they did have worth in their life and someone is there with them at the end,” said Whitehead.
No One Dies Alone is a national volunteer program started in 2001 by a nurse in Oregon who promised to be by the bedside of a dying man but never made it. She pledged to never let that happen again so No One Dies Alone was born.
“Having personally sat in a room with a patient who was dying, it's a very humbling experience,” said Whitehead.
Volunteers called compassionate companions have a backpack with cd’s, books and journals and take three hour shifts around the clock until the person passes.
“You want to be there to comfort somebody who needs help,” said volunteer Stephanie Baliff.
She said sadly, the need is great. She’s a former nurse but volunteers don’t need any medical training, just an open heart. Wishard is looking for volunteers now. The program just started this month.
“So if they would like to sit there and just hold the patient’s hand that's great,” said Whitehead. “If they would like to sit there and read to them that's fine also. If they would like to sit there and cry that's fine too.”
Wishard said they just someone to be there to help them pass in peace.
More information about how to volunteer is available online.