Volunteers will undergo both hospital and program training. No nursing skill is necessary to volunteer, but the program does require a two-hour introductory training session and a one-hour orientation session before qualifying to serve as a NODA companion. In addition, applicants will also undergo criminal history background checks and health checks along with being asked to complete online learning modules during the onboarding process.
This training is to promote the safety of both our volunteers and patients in addition to helping make the vigil experience is a positive one for everyone involved. After completing training, companions are asked to provide their hours of availability. It is important to note that the need for companions will not be the same each week.
When hospital shift coordinators decide that a patient would benefit from compassionate companions, they contact the NODA volunteer phone coordinator, who notifies the companions who have signed up for that day. The notified companions then begin to come in, one by one, for a series of three-hour shifts. Patients are then surrounded by compassion and care until they pass.
Companions serve as a patient’s surrogate family, providing them with dignity, respect and the knowledge that they are a valued member of the community. Volunteers may be called upon by shift coordinators when patients meet the following criteria:
- Patient is on comfort care only
- Has a “do not resuscitate” status
- Is expected to pass away within 24-72 hours
- Does not have local family or friends
- Does not have family or friends involved and present