What might an End of Life doula do?
- Advanced Care Planning – this is to help get affairs in order, to consider where you would like to die, are there people you want to see or letters you want written, to personalise the active stage of dying (who is there, music, readings), funeral wishes and much more.
- Advocacy – between other professionals and the individual or perhaps within the family. This may simply be being present with you in situations to help give support and another set of ears so things aren’t missed.
- Spiritual care – this area is often neglected in life up until this point. It may just be wanting the chance to explore thoughts, or see a spiritual leader. This can sometimes be a surprise or shied away from in families or just be too much for them to hear. Peace and spiritual guidance can often be found in guided meditations, body blessings and other forms of connecting to your higher being. This is something I can do, giving comfort to you and family members if wanted.
- Legacy Projects – often when a parent of young children die they want their children to have something to remember them by. There are lots of beautiful ways of doing this and it is often a cathartic process for the dying person.
- Distant relative care- I can be a regular visitor to parents, relatives or friends whom you want to help but live at a distance. This can be a bespoke plan with hands on help or overseeing care in place. With so many carers, doctors and other professionals coming and going over time it is a comfort to have one consistent, familiar, trusted person throughout this too often lonely journey.
- Respite care – the carers of people dying at home have such alot to learn, do and emotionally cope with. Having time to eat, wash, have your own appointments, work, spend time with other family members and rejuvenate is essential for the carer and enhances care given but these things are often ignored or are felt guilty over.
- Animal care and rehoming – animals are also often great providers of love and sanity for all family & friends who are supporting someone dying at home.I can be there to enable carers to go off and do those things, or have me do them whilst they stay at home.
- Lifts and errands
- Vigilling – organising rotas, doing night shifts so loved ones can gain much needed rest.
- Loved ones after care – it may be of great comfort to someone to know that their loved ones will have help with practical issues after death, help with funeral arrangements and letting others know. There can be a great loneliness afterwards as not only have they lost their loved one but the regular helping visitors too, my contact could continue in this initial stage of grief.
An End of Life Doula works alongside medical and care staff who are often overstretched, so our desire is to contribute and collaborate with these amazing people. Many EoL Doulas, like myself, also volunteer their time to local hospices.
I feel honoured to be on the frontline of helping people have as graceful and dignified death and helping family and friends feel less traumatised. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those that have shared their experiences with me so that I may shape my services appropriately.
NEDA is comprised of a determined and talented band of like-minded, expert practitioners, trainers and natural death care pioneers who have forged an alliance and have the public interest as our highest priority. NEDA is an inclusive, welcoming, and transparent network of doulas from many backgrounds, philosophies, and skill levels who come together to share our wisdom with each other and the individuals, families, communities and caregivers we serve. We are wise and we are many.