Dignity Health East Valley hospitals, Chandler Regional Medical Center and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, are launching a new program to provide companionship to patients in the dying process who are alone. The effort is called “No One Dies Alone” and provides the gift of respect and dignity to another human being at the end of life.
“From time to time, we have patients who do not have loved ones at their side as they are nearing death. Through the efforts of our Compassionate Companion volunteers, No One Dies Alone provides a reassuring presence to these patients,” says Betsy Powers a chaplain at Dignity Health in Arizona. “With the support of nursing staff, palliative care and spiritual care, Compassionate Companions offer patients the most valuable of human gifts: a dignified death. No One Dies Alone has a goal that no one in the hospital will die without the presence of a loving, caring, compassionate companion nearby.”
Powers says that most people have two fears about dying. They fear dying alone and dying in pain. She says that Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers have developed protocols which are focused on the needs of someone in the dying process with attention to dignity, respect and comfort.
Anyone 21 and older who is comfortable with end-of-life issues and their own mortality can volunteer for this program. No previous special training or experience is necessary. What a Compassionate Companion needs is a compassionate and caring heart, says Powers. “The most important aspect of this caring ministry is the No One Dies Alone volunteer Compassionate Companions gift of presence.”
Volunteers will receive in-depth educational training that covers the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of dying, what they might expect to experience at a patient’s bedside, how to deal with the unexpected and how to be most helpful. A volunteer will sit with patients, read to them, talk to them or hold their hand. Sometimes the volunteer will just be with the patient in generous silence.
Volunteer training begins March 1st, 2018. Please contact Chaplain Betsy Powers at (480) 728-5650.