The Spiritual Care Department at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has launched the Not Alone Transition Companion program, to provide critically ill or dying patients with a companion when family members or friends are not available. Companions sit with patients, read to them or even hold a hand in their final days or hours, so that patients are not alone at the bedside.
"It is so good to tell a relative who cannot get to the hospital that their loved one is not alone" said Father Anthony Akinlolu, assistant director of Spiritual Care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. "The comfort and the presence of a companion at the bedside can lessen a patient's anxiety."
This is the first volunteer program the department has established and the team is actively recruiting compassionate, personable and caring individuals to volunteer. So far, both Hospital Center employees and individuals in the community have signed up to volunteer and make a difference. Dot King, a senior administrative assistant in the Hospital Center's Engineering Department, truly cherishes her new role.
"It is a blessing to me to be there. We are all going to leave here one day, and no patient should be left alone," added King.
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