No patient dies alone is ensured by some hospital volunteers such as UCLA. This is a promise done by hospital volunteers that patients will not be left alone to die. It is a way of providing support to dying individuals so that the patient does not die alone.
No patient dies alone is possible to accomplish as medical volunteer companions come and stay with the actively dying patient in the hospital. These companions are compassionate and stay rotating once in three-four hour shifts. This support is given to the patient until he survives. The compassionate companions, during this vigil, can talk to the patient, hold their hand or even just give their loving presence.
How can they help?
Medical volunteer companions are compassionate and provide the patient with the much expected companionship. They are the surrogate family members and ensure the patient full support, thereby allow the patients to die with dignity, assuring the patient they will never be forgotten.
To become a medical volunteer, you need no nursing skills. It is only the attitude and acceptance to serve as a compassionate companion. This programs nature expects the volunteers to be of 18 years and they should not have experienced any recent family member or friend’s death.
Medical volunteers are in high demand and are required from various healthcare fields for general medicine, nursing, physical therapy, dental, psychiatry, speech therapy and lots more. The medical volunteer with experience can be of great help at rural clinics so that they provide the abused women and children the required psychological treatment. Thus the medical volunteer companions can gain insight into healthcare challenges.
- A Medical volunteer can be a professional or student based on their expertise or interests.
- These volunteers are expected to interact with patients and observe nurses or doctors or at local clinics making regular visits to comprehend every minor procedure. Volunteer tasks vary depending on the level of medical expertise of a medical volunteer and also the language ability.
- If a medical volunteer is working as a nurse, assisting staff with procedures such as shot injections, blood work, IV set up and more must be known or learnt soon.
- Doctors work with patients directly in coordination with local doctors and staff at a rural orphanage or clinic.
- A medical volunteer who is non-professional can also help by teaching language skills in a clinic setting and can spend time encouraging patients.
- A medical volunteer who is also a psychology student can work in juvenile detention centers and women’s shelters to offer counseling.
- Based on the experience, volunteers may assist children or adult at a physical therapy clinic or at a rehabilitation center that is for mentally disabled children.
There are times when the state-of-the-art medicine and doctors fail to hold the progress of life-threatening illness and death becomes imminent that patients feel more discomfort and left alone. Now this is the time a medical volunteer can offer support to the patient even if their friends or relatives are not able to be at their bedside. This will comfort them that they do not die alone, uncared.
Hospital volunteers in UCLA hospital program called ‘No Patient Dies Alone’ are dedicated in providing comfort and keeping vigil with such patients who have nobody to stay with them and help them through the dying process peacefully by assuring support besides them all the time. In this way comfort is offered to the patients that they are not alone. This provides great relief to the patient family members as they can also take a break and a medical volunteer learns to be more compassionate towards patients.