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Nationwide Program Aims to Comfort Dying, Lonesome Patients


Aired 4/19/09

No one is born alone. A hospital-based program that’s spreading nationwide makes sure no one dies alone, either. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The name of the program explains its mission: No One Dies Alone. More than 100 participating hospitals nationwide provide trained volunteers to sit with people in their final hours.

Michael Moran is the director of spiritual care at Mission Hospital in Orange County.

Moran : This is a companionship kind of thing. The volunteer is there just for their presence. They’re not there to do anything, except if an emergency occurs and they need to call the nurse in -- of course they do that. But they’re basically there just to hold the hand of the patient, perhaps sing a little bit.

Moran says the service is designed for dying patients who don’t have any family or friends nearby.  

Census figures show about one in every three people over the age of 65 lives alone.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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