What is an End-of-life Doula? An End of Life Doula, or Death Doula is a non-medical, holistic practitioner who guides individuals and their families through the dying process by way of presence, support, advocacy, education, and companionship. Just as birth doulas support mothers birthing a new life, a death doula supports individuals leaving this life.
Why would I consider hiring an End-of-life Doula? Death Doulas are a calming, reassuring presence with knowledge of the death process. We are 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, knowledgable and comforting presence during a most emotional time.
How do the services of end of life doulas complement the services offered by hospice? End of life doulas do not replace the the interdisciplinary hospice team of doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain, aides and volunteers provided by hospice; rather we complement what is in place by offering:
• scheduled visits as desired by the patient, family or caregivers
• on-call vigil availability with back-up support
• personalized attention to meet family’s specific needs
• continuity of care from diagnosis through initial bereavement
• advocacy through the development of wishes
• respite and on-call services
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.