The NSS says they should be paid for by churches (that's churches as in
"advocates for religions and for faith—i.e. the total surrender of rational autonomy, the submission to unreason and illegitimate authority. A G_d that cares, judges, and lays down taboos, customs, rules, rewards, punishments, traditions and social hierarchies is a monstrous deceit and a vile, sick, inanity. An evil ideology in sum".)And that's right unless the role was changed to a secular one of wandering around the hospital and talking to patients, friends, family and visitors.
Imagine being a patient stuck in a ward for a week or two. Would you like someone to have an intelligent debate about the expulsion of the anarchists from the First International? A debate about whether Alex Cox's Repo Man is a classic depiction of Los Angeles Suburban Punks and early 1980s capitalism or just a cracking film with a cool soundtrack? A debate about why Slavoj Zizek in his book The Parallax View does not discuss the film The Parallax View?
And talking of The Parallax View, here's the montage scene.
But I digress, some people would welcome someone to share an intelligent conversation; or even to have a heated debate while they have to stay in hospital.
It may even aid people's mental health to have a good conversation or debate. And at least it will stop patients dying of boredom.
Such a service should be delivered by the staff, with no responsibility but to engage patients, and others, in conversation, debate and maybe even tell a few jokes. Intelligent conversation, debate and reasoned argument should be as much a right during a stay in hospital as good medical treatment. And to guarantee that right you need full time staff to deliver the service.