On Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m., the Eskenazi Health No One Dies Alone (NODA) program will offer an orientation session for people interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer for the program. The session will be held at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, 720 Eskenazi Avenue, on the main floor in the Fagre Baker Daniels conference room. Interested participants should email noda@eskenazihealth.edu or call 317.880.8263.

The program uses volunteer companions who are notified when patients are alone and expected to die in the next 24 to 72 hours. The companions come to the hospital and stay with the patients, rotating through three-hour shifts, to ensure they are not left alone in their final moments. During the vigil, the volunteer companions talk to the patients, hold their hand or just serve as a compassionate presence in the room.

The initial NODA training consists of a one two-hour session and addresses the logistical and emotional aspects of being in this role. Volunteers act as surrogate family members to provide patients with companionship, allowing them to die with dignity and ensuring they will be remembered. NODA does ongoing training and debriefing after vigils to learn from each other and process the experience.

The program has been developed by the Eskenazi Health Palliative Care Department, which assists underserved patients who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses and need to experience dignity and compassion as they die. The specially trained palliative care staff at Eskenazi Health helps coordinate complex medical care for patients as they face the physical and psychological challenges associated with their illness.