A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the New York state Senate wrote a letter to the New York Hospital systems asking that they launch a program that will ensure COVID-19 patients do not die alone in the hospital.
The Compassionate Helper Volunteer Program would be made up of volunteers that would make sure patients had support and could help provide relief to hospital staff that have been stretched thin during this pandemic. Volunteers could also be translators to help non-bilingual patients.
"The program we are suggesting would be made up of volunteers who can help lift patients' spirits," Senator David Carlucci said. “They can have conversations with patients, help with specific food requests, or assist in contacting the patient’s family. These volunteers can be there for patients who have no family. No New Yorker should die alone if we can prevent it.”
Hospitals would be required to provide volunteers with personal protective equipment and trained in how to treat coronavirus patients.
The letter also suggests that volunteers who have tested positive for antibodies, be given priority as volunteers, although there is no firm proof that catching the coronavirus gives a person immunity.
Twenty-five members of the state Senate signed on to this letter sent to the Healthcare Association of New York State and the Greater New York Hospital Association.