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IU Health Arnett needs volunteers to comfort dying patients in final days

The "No One Dies Alone' program is for patients who do not have any family. Volunteers will step in to fill that role so dying patients are not alone during their last one to two days.

Posted: Jan 10, 2020 7:15 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2020 9:05 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLF)—A new program at IU Health Arnett is making sure no one is alone during their last days of life. However, the hospital needs volunteers to make it happen.

The "No One Dies Alone' program is for patients who do not have any family. Volunteers, called 'compassionate companions', will step in to fill that role so dying patients are not alone during their last one to two days.

As a volunteer, all that you are asked is to be present. Volunteers can talk to patients, read or listen to music. 

Program officials say in a patient's last days, the goal is comfort.

Volunteers wouldn't work regularly; just on an as-needed basis. Volunteers will work in shifts so the patient has someone at their side 24 hours a day until they pass.

Nadine Cline, a Nurse Practitioner at IU Health Arnett, said a great volunteer would be someone who has experienced death of a loved one.

She added this volunteer position isn't for everybody. If you have the heart to be present with people, you can make a big difference.

"People who've experienced death of a friend or family member or would feel like, well I don't want my own family member being alone."

However, she suggests if your loved one's death is recent, you should wait before volunteering for this program.

Cline explained volunteers would be relieving nurses, because they can't always be at a patient's side 24/7.

She said volunteers won't know the patient they are comforting, but at least that patient won't be alone.

"Patients in the last couple days of life might not be able to respond or be involved necessarily, but that doesn't mean that having that somebody near them doesn't give them comfort," Cline said.

IU Health Arnett in Lafayette is the second IU Hospital to implement this program. The only other IU Hospital that has the program is Ball Memorial in Muncie.

If you are interested in volunteering, there is an informational meeting Monday, Jan. 13th. It will take place at IU Health Arnett Hospital in the Michael Skehan Learning Center, Room AG411. That meeting is at 5:30 p.m. 

If you are unable to make the meeting, call the hospital's direct line at (765) 448-8000 and mention the 'No One Dies Alone' program.

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