Hospital volunteer programs comfort the dying

Far too often, patients end up dying alone in their bed in an impersonal hospital setting--particularly if they don't have friends or family to keep them company. While hospices routinely provide volunteers to stay with terminal patients who don't have family available, hospitals haven't been prepared to provide these volunteers. Increasingly, however, a new, growing movement is posting volunteers at the bedside of hospitalized terminal patients. These efforts are promoted by several emerging organizations, including No One Dies Alone, a program which now exists in several hundred hospitals. To participate in the No One Dies Alone program, hospitals recruit volunteers willing to be on call for one or more three-hour shifts each month. The hospitals train the volunteers in how to create a comfortable environment for the terminal patient.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Los Angeles Times article