What IS an End of Life or Death Doula?
We live in a death denying culture. Despite the fact that the experience of death is one that we will all have, we refuse to talk about it, plan for it, explore it as we would any other journey that we might take. The cost of this is that we may experience unwanted or invasive medical procedures or interventions, miss the opportunity to tend to unresolved relationships with loved ones, or limit our ability to live fully while we have the chance.
An End of Life Doula is someone that offers education, information, companionship and support to help you meet death with dignity, grace and compassion. We can provide emotional, spiritual and practical support for individuals and their loved ones before, during and after death.
End of Life Doulas empower and encourage people and their families to participate in conscious decision making about end of life, and advocate for their expectations and wishes to improve the quality of the end of life journey. As a Death Doula, I DO NOT: Prescribe any treatments, perform any medical or clinical tasks, distribute medication or diagnose, make decisions for my clients, or impose my own beliefs into my client’s experience.
Advanced Care Planning, Representation Agreements, and other key documents. This can include understanding your medical care options, choosing your preferred place of care and death (home, hospital, hospice), identifying an appropriate health representative and learning about advanced directives to empower your decision making. Pre planning provides an opportunity for you to develop instructions for the care that you want or do not want if you become incapable of making decisions for yourself.
Emotional & Spiritual Care
In support of a more conscious, compassionate, and contemplative death, we can help to provide emotional, spiritual and practical support to enhance comfort and reduce suffering, and to provide a greater sense of control over the dying process. This may include facilitating end of life discussions, reflecting on values, wishes, fears, hopes and beliefs, or facilitating family meetings and conversations to strengthen and complete relationships with family and friends.
Vigiling means to sit quietly and peacefully at the bedside during your final days or hours of life to be present with you in the moment of death and through your dying process. We can provide support to or respite for loved ones as they vigil.