"More than anything else a dying person needs to have someone with them. This used to be recognised in hospitals, and when I trained, no one ever died alone. However busy the wards, or however short of staff, a nurse was always assigned to sit with a dying person to hold their hand, stroke their forehead, whisper a few words. Peace and quietness, even reverence for the dying, were expected and assured.
I disagree wholly with the notion that there is no point in staying with an unconscious patient because he or she does not know you are there. I am perfectly certain, through years of experience and observation, that unconsciousness, as we define it, is not a state of unknowing. Rather it is a state of knowing and understanding on a different level that is beyond our immediate experience" (107).
~Shadows of the Workhouses by Jennifer Worth
In 2010 and 2011 I worked in an assisted living facility. We had several residents die while I was there, but I was only present for one. I had the privilege to sit with a woman for her last few hours of life. And like Worth I feel that it is important that no one dies alone. Both for the one dying and for those who are left behind.