An Indianapolis health care provider that has a hospital and 10 community health centers has started a program to ensure that terminally ill patients who don't have family nearby don't die alone.
Wishard Health Services calls the program "No One Dies Alone." It provides companionship and support for dying, hospitalized individuals.
The program uses volunteer companions who are notified when patients are alone and expected to die within 24 hours.
The companions go to the hospital and stay with the patients, rotating through three-hour shifts, to ensure they are not alone in their final moments.
Wishard is looking for volunteers for the program to act as surrogate family members to provide patients with companionship.
The program doesn't require volunteers to have nursing skills. Volunteers agree to be available for three-hour shifts.
"Volunteers will undergo both hospital and program training. This training is to ensure the safety of both volunteers and patients in addition to ensuring the vigil experience is a positive one for both people," the hospital said in a statement.
Volunteers can contact Wishard at 317-630-6118 or NODA@wishard.edu.