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Terminally Ill Need Not Die Alone at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital

"No One Dies Alone" program designed for those without family or separated from their loved ones.

If you're near the end of your life, you need not face your final hours alone.

Elmhurst Memorial Hospital is offering a "No One Dies Alone" program for patients who are terminally ill and have no family to be with them in their dying hours.

More than 40 volunteers from the EMH staff and EMH Volunteer Department have been trained and certified to be Compassionate Companions for those patients dying who have no families or whose families who cannot be at the hospital.

The program is offered as part of the hospital's Planetree philosophy of patient care. NODA was created by Sandra Clark, a nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Ore., in 2001, and began at EMH in April 2014.

“Our Planetree philosophy of patient care challenges us to meet the needs of our patients no matter what stage of life they happen to be in,” says Joanne Muzzey, director of patient advocacy and Planetree, Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare.  “The NODA program is a perfect fit for us. Whether our patients are trying to get well and go home or transition from this life to the next, we will always try to provide for the special and individual needs of our patients in a caring and healing environment.”

When a NODA vigil begins, the Compassionate Companions sit at the patient’s bedside in two-hour shifts, armed with a comfort bag that holds inspirational readings and an iPod to play music.

“It was not long after April 1 that we had our first NODA patient,” recalls Muzzey.  “The Companions sat with the patient providing comforting touch, talk and presence, reassuring him that he would not be alone. The patient died peacefully, surrounded by the love and care of the Companion and nurse.  

"Because of NODA, this patient did not have to die alone.”

For more information, contact Chaplain Don Dahlheimer, manager of Spiritual Care Services, Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare, atddahlhe@emhc.org or (331) 221-0451.

— via Elmhurst Memorial Hospital

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