Have you ever heard of NODA? It’s an acronym for No One Dies Alone. How did this program come about?
Several years back, a hospital nurse was making her rounds to the patients. Upon entering the room of a very ill elderly man, he begged, “Please don’t leave me. I don’t want to die alone.”
Although her heart filled with compassion for this gentleman, she had to continue her rounds to the other patients and could not stay. However, she promised, “As soon as I’m done, I will come back and sit with you.”
About an hour later the nurse returned to the man’s room, but he had already passed away…while all alone.
This so affected her that she started a NODA program at her hospital, a program which has now spread across our country.
Trained NODA volunteers step in when a patient is believed to have less than seventy-two hours to live, and have no family members or friends to stay by their side. These volunteers also stay with a dying patient while distant-living family members travel to the hospital.
Sometimes the few available family members become exhausted sitting with their dying loved one and need to go home and sleep, or out for a meal. NODA volunteers also help out in these circumstances.
As a trained NODA volunteer for our local hospital, I’ll sit with a patient for two or three hours, then another volunteer comes for the next two or three hour shift. This is done round-the-clock until the patient passes on.
Upon entering the patient’s room we introduce ourselves to the patient, whether they are conscious or not. During our time with the person, we read poems, play calming music CD’s, hold the patient’s hand, or do whatever seems to comfort the person. We are there as a presence, only.
Do the calls for a NODA watch come at convenient times? Usually not…but no one should die while all alone.