No One Dies Alone

This evening my aunt, who is a primary nurse at the Rockyview General Hospital, shared with me a bit about her experiences as a nurse both before and amidst the pandemic.

In particular, she told me about a program initiated in 2015 called No One Dies Alone. This project of Alberta Health Services is a effort to ensure that any patient, who is without family or friends to visit them as they approach death, is met with some form of intentional companionship.

My aunt told me that, throughout the entire pandemic, she does not think anyone has died alone at her hospital. Most have had family and friends who were able to visit and for those who did not, they were accompanied by volunteers or clergy.

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Hospice Nurse: “I’ve always wanted to help people by making them feel better”

My aunt Danielle Hall (on the right) is a dual citizen who was born in Calgary and now lives and works as a hospice nurse in Chicago.

She traces her interest in working with the dying to when she was just five years old.

“I think how it started, when I reflect back, is that since my mother would often get headaches, she taught me how to rub her head to relieve them,” Danielle reminisced. “My mom would lay on the couch and I would stand behind her, rubbing her head with my fingers in circles around her forehead, and that’s when I first realized that I had a healing touch.”

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