Volunteers sought to help veterans nearing death
Michigan Veteran Homes (MVH) is looking for volunteers to join the No Member Dies Alone (NMDA) program at each Home highlighting the need to offer companionship and assistance to veteran members who are entering the final stages of life.
NMDA is a program in which volunteers provide comfort at the bedside when family and friends can’t be present. These acts of kindness such as holding a member’s hand, talking or listening, or reading or playing music, helps each member feel more comfortable and ensures that no one should have to face the challenge of death alone.
MVH is seeking volunteers to join the NMDA program at each of the three Homes located in Chesterfield Township, Grand Rapids and Marquette. If you are interested in volunteering, you can apply at one of the Homes. In addition to the regular volunteer application process, anyone desiring to serve as a vigil volunteer will also have a special interview to determine fitness for the No Member Dies Alone team. Sensitivity and compassion are crucial and team members must feel reasonably comfortable interacting with those nearing death.
“When I retired from a very fulfilling 40-year career as an educator, I knew I needed to find something to do that had meaning and purpose,” said Mike Micele, a Vietnam veteran and NMDA volunteer. “Joining the NMDA program has been one of the most powerful and life-changing experiences of my life. It is truly spiritual work. In some cases, these veterans don’t have friends or family present so to be there and tell them they are loved and there is nothing to fear is beyond words. The best gift we can give a dying member is our time, presence and love. This is work that needs doing and demands our best.”
MVH provides all the training necessary including orientation sessions on member privacy regulations, bedside protocol, communication skills and self-care. Opportunities to follow experienced volunteers are offered as well.
“Volunteers are an important part of our team that provides care and comfort to our veteran members as they enter the final stages of life,” said Jodi Thompson, director of psychosocial services and quality of life for MVH. “While there are several things volunteers can do to promote relaxation and lessen pain, sometimes it’s as simple as being present. We hope to grow the program at each of our three Homes so that our veteran members receive the support they deserve.”
If you are interested in volunteering, please direct all inquiries to D.J. Jacobetti – Volunteer and Donations Coordinator Sarah Johnson at johnsons93@ michigan.gov or 906-226-3576 Ext: 2520396.
For more information on the NMDA program, please visit No Member Dies Alone (michigan. gov).