No One Dies Alone Program Gaining Volunteers in the Area
Death and dying can be a difficult subject for many. It’s something people usually don't want to talk about or be involved in, but it's often a time when those nearing their time could use a companion most. Many participants gathered Thursday at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney to learn about the No One Dies Alone Program, which has been gaining interest in the area. The program was started in 2002 by a nurse in Oregon who'd left her dying patient's bedside and come back to find he had passed away. Now the program is being implemented in hospitals and nursing homes across the country, including Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney. On Thursday many hopeful volunteers gathered for a training meeting to learn more about the program and what volunteering entails. "If there's not family, or maybe family needs a break to step away for a while we can call these volunteers that have completed the training and are willing to help us out. They’re there to be an advocate for the patient and to be there to hold a hand, put a cloth on their forehead," said Kimber Bonner, with Good Samaritan Hospital. The program has been going strong at Good Samaritan since 2011. It started out as a small group of twenty volunteers, but has since expanded as patients may need a companion at any time of the night and day, and on short notice as well. "We realized over the last couple of years that the success of the program is on the number of volunteers. So we've increased that and we just left it wide open. So we're really excited when we have a large room of people that are willing to help us out with these difficult situations," said Bonner. While this may ultimately not be right for all potential volunteers, many said they felt a calling to be there and a part of the program. Betty Luce explains, "I felt a calling or a passion to do it. I have been there when someone died and so the concept wasn't foreign to me."
Kelly Wolfe says she had a similar feeling. “I know that this is what i want to do. It’s just like calling me, you can do something here. You can help."
Good Samaritan holds training events for potential volunteers throughout the year. Officials remind if this volunteer opportunity isn't suited for you, there are plenty of other ways to get involved.