AUSTIN, Texas – (Oct. 22, 2014) – KUT, Austin’s National Public Radio (NPR) station, recently spotlighted No One Dies Alone, Seton’s program to ensure that someone dying at University Medical Center Brackenridge or Seton Medical Center Austin will not be alone when they pass away.
KUT Reporter Joy Diaz’s report can be heard and read online. In includes the following:
Brenna Allsuch is a nurse. Her patients are not going to get better, but she ensures their passing is as comfortable as possible.
In the hallway, outside the room of one of her dying patients, she meets with Chaplain Liz Powell, who just finished a three-hour vigil by the patient’s side. They don’t know whether the patient’s loved ones are on their way – if he has anyone coming to be with him in his final moments.
Powell and her network of volunteers from all over Austin consider a person’s passing as sacred as their birth. They’re committed to keeping someone company so that, no matter the circumstances, they don’t die alone.
‘It’s hard for me to know what comforts him,’ Powell says. ‘It’s hard for me to know – when I was sitting with him, when you’re talking to him. ‘Does he like it? Does he not like it? Does he want music on?”
From outside the room, what sounds like New Age music is playing. One volunteer can’t talk. She holds the man’s hand and uses her music to communicate with him. Allsuch and clinical assistant Maly Reyes walk in with pillows to put under the dying man’s arms and legs.
Every three hours, a new volunteer quietly takes over, keeping watch over the man whose cancer is ending his life.