KEARNEY, Neb. -- In a rural area it can take hours to get to a hospital, making it hard for some families to be there to support a dying loved one. So one hospital program makes sure patients get that support.
The last time Good Samaritan Hospital trained volunteers for their No One Dies Alone program they had such a large turnout they actually had to turn people away. But now they're trying to get twice as many volunteers who will stay with patients in their final hours.
Good Samaritan staff recognize there are many situations where a dying patient may not have someone there to give them their final care.
Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Marcia Leonard said, "Sometimes the family can't be there because they live a distance away, sometimes they have no family at all, and sometimes the family needs a break. So they're there volunteering, holding their hand, playing some music for them, just being there."
So the hospital accepts any willing volunteers to take part in a 5 hour training class, regardless of having any medical background.
"We talk about confidentiality, we talk about what to expect when they are at the bedside, what kind of comfort measures they can provide for our patients and the family too," said Volunteer Coordinator Jeanne Morton.
Morton deals personally with the volunteers throughout the program and said they gains as much from it as the patients.
She said, "We have heard that it's a blessing to witness the passing and being able to provide the comfort measures."
And it's more than the patients, volunteers, and staff that benefit from this program.
"I had a family from Washington state, they could not make it here in time and that was just a comfort to them to know that they're loved one was going to have someone there at their bedside when they couldn't," recalled Leonard.
But the most important aspect for the hospital is giving people a dignified final hours.
Leonard said, "People come into this life with other people around them, they should not go out of this life alone."
For details on how you can volunteer or if you just want more information about the program send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (308) 865-7102. You can also click the link to the Good Samaritan Hospital website. The upcoming training class will be on Thursday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Good Samaritan Hospital in the 2nd floor conference center.