After over a year of preparations, volunteer recruitment and training, and logistical work, and thanks to a generous grant from UCSF Partners in Care, Spiritual Care Services is pleased to announce the beginning of a No One Dies Alone (NODA) program to serve imminently dying adult inpatients at Parnassus who are unbefriended or unaccompanied. NODA makes it possible for a volunteer to offer companionship to an adult who is dying on one of our inpatient units and who has not had family members or friends visiting, or to a patient whose family/friends are keeping vigil and might need a respite break.
NODA is not a religiously oriented service and it is not a replacement for a chaplain or anyone else serving a professional function on the caregiving team. Our volunteers are explicitly instructed that their aim is to support the patient with their presence, and chaplains will be available to consult about any religious, spiritual, or other non-medical requests a patient might make during a NODA visit.
This program launched on the morning of Wednesday, February 1st. The Parnassus on-call chaplain or the chaplain serving a clinical unit will serve as the referral point for a NODA request. Once a patient has been identified as someone who would benefit from a NODA visit, a trained volunteer would be contacted. Because we are reliant on volunteers, we cannot guarantee that we always will have a companion available, or that we’ll be able to provide continuous coverage. However, our aim is to fulfill all NODA requests with at least some companionship during those patients’ last hours and days.