What is an End-of-Life/Death Doula?
An end-of-life doula, or death doula, is someone who makes themselves available to assist a dying individual and, typically, the family before, during and after a death occurs in order to provide physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual support. Doulas can complement systems already in place, allowing caregivers respite and those living remotely the assurance that their loved one is well-supported. Our doulas will meet you where you are, and assist with developing a cohesive plan which honors all who are involved.
What About Hospice and/or Palliative Care?
Hospice and palliative care teams include interdisciplinary providers such as doctors, nurses, aides, chaplains, social workers, volunteers, and sometimes other therapists (OT/PT). These teams are generally not available to provide 24/7 care, except for in the case of short-term, acute medical management or respite stays. This, coupled with the fact that most end-of-life care occurs outside of the hospital, leaves much of the caregiving to loved ones, if/when available. Doulas can complement what is available, allowing caregivers respite and those living remotely the assurance that their person is well-supported. Our doulas will meet you where you are and assist with developing a cohesive plan that honors all who are involved.
Why Would I Want an End-of-Life Doula?
End-of-Life Doulas are a calming and reassuring presence with knowledge of the death process, and a compassionate resource for families who may be overwhelmed and grieving at the impending death of their loved one. End-of-Life Doulas offer a variety of services to assist in the transition of dying but are first and foremost a grounding, reliable, knowledgeable and comforting presence during an emotional time. We are trained and practiced to be with intense and difficult emotions. Clients benefit from our full-time presence and companionship at vigil and at death, our advocacy in hospitals or at home, and our coaching to customize end-of-life care plans for spiritual, physical, practical and life review needs. Most importantly, our consistent relationships with our clients are not a service offered anywhere else.
When Should I Contact an End-of-Life Doula?
End-of-Life Doulas can be contacted at any time during the end of life process. The sooner the doula can enter into the process, the more time can be spent getting to know the individual and family, creating quality care plans, prioritizing end of life needs, and creating sacred space and meaning for the individual and family.
What Happens After I Hire You?
Our first session after the initial consultation will be centered on drawing up our end-of-life plan. Our doulas will arrive with an agenda to guide this process, based upon our initial consultation. We will create a "road map" to guide us through the dying person's journey. The plan will lay the groundwork that will help alleviate stress, logistical as well as emotional, during the transition. Our follow-on interactions with you will largely be dictated by what we want in the end-of-life plan. Depending on the individual, we may discuss:
Specific areas where closure is desired
Assistance with legacy projects
Do I Need to Be Actively Dying to Utilize Your Doula Services?
No. If you are dealing with anxiety associated with death, want to start planning your own passing early or have some other desire to discuss death and dying, we're happy to speak with you.
Do you Provide Medical Support?
No. Doulas are not trained medical personnel but we will work with your existing medical team to provide you the best support possible.