Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Helping patients experience death,  

A handful of local hospitals recently started volunteer programs that train ordinary people to sit with those who are alone and dying.

Angelo DeLorenzo spends many nights watching people as they die.

Occasionally, the person wants to talk, sometimes through the night. Often, the patient is unconscious, but DeLorenzo reads to him or her, plays the harp or sits quietly and prays.

Everyone deserves a good death, DeLorenzo believes. No one should die without someone there to hold a hand, whisper reassuring words and make sure the person is comfortable.

So DeLorenzo stays with these dying patients at St. Mary Medical Center, where he frequently takes the overnight shift. The Middletown hospital is one of a handful in the area that have started end-of-life programs, where ordinary people such as DeLorenzo, a chaplain intern, are trained to provide comfort care for people who have no close family available.

"No One Dies Alone" - the name of the program at St. Mary - originated at an Oregon hospital in 2001. It has since spread around the world. More than 1,100 hospitals and hospices have requested copies of the program's manual, said Carleen McCornack, coordinator of the mission center of Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, where the program started.

These types of programs will go along way towards easing patients and family members into accepting the death of a loved one.

To read the complete article click on the above link:

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