About end of life doulas
Doulas are not a new concept – in fact they’ve been around for centuries. The word ‘doula’ itself derives from ancient Greek meaning ‘person of service’.
Doula services are a non-medical role providing practical, emotional and spiritual support, helping to demystify death and dying for those nearing their end of life and those close to them. Over the past century in our Western society death has become a far more ‘medicalised’ event. The truth is… death is not a medical event. It is a deeply personal, individual, family and community event.
Where once we would have cared for our aging and dying at home, these days our elders are cared for in aged care facilities and hospitals, which can often contribute to an isolated, lonely and disempowered end of life and death.
Sometimes also known as ‘death doulas’, at Preparing the Way our doulas adopt a holistic approach to providing a continuum of care up to, including, and beyond the time of death, walking alongside families through the many stages of end of life.
End of life doulas assist a person with a diagnosis and those close to them explore their options, provide access to education and resources, and connect support networks to provide the best end of life for those dying, and those caring for them.
Have you or someone you love received a life-limiting diagnosis?
When someone receives a diagnosis of a life-limiting or terminal illness or is aging, it can be a lonely, confusing and confronting time for them and those close to them.
There is often so much to manage and many choices to make – knowing what options are available and feeling empowered to make decisions can make a significant difference to all involved.
An end of life doula offers reassurance, support, options and education, allowing people to make informed choices that align with their values, wishes and needs and to take back control and to live their life as they choose. An end of life doula supports life!
Being fully informed as to resources available, knowing what support and assistance is available, helping navigate the health system gives people the power of choice, and an empowered end of life.
You are the expert in your life. You know your preferences. An end of life doula’s role is to support you to fulfil those.
What services can an end of life doula provide?
Just as every person is unique, so too, is every illness, ageing and end of life.
An end of life doula can provide a broad range of non-medical and non-clinical services such as;
- Supporting everyone involved to understand the information, options and choices that are available to them, and then the support to fulfil those in alignment with their values, needs and preferences.
- Navigating the health system, planning and coordination of services and support networks.
- Assisting with organising legal documentation and advance care directives, emotional wills, funeral planning, legacy documents.
- Helping people plan for an end of life that is meaningful to them and consistent with their belief system and ethnic, cultural, spiritual and/or personal values and preferences.
- Advocacy and provision of a continuum of support through all stages of end of life and into bereavement.
- Facilitating death literacy through access to information and resources.