What is an end of life doula?

What is an end of life doula?

The end of life doula is 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.

Doulas are not a new concept – they’ve been around for centuries. The word ‘doula’ derives from ancient Greek meaning ‘person of service’. Over the past century, death has become more medicalised in our Western society. The truth is death is not a medical event, it is a profoundly personal, individual, family and community event. Where once we would have cared for our ageing 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.

At Preparing the Way, our end of life doulas adopt a holistic approach and provide care every step of the way. We walk alongside families through the many stages of the end of life. End of life doulas assist a person with a diagnosis and those close to them to 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 ageing, 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, take back control and 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 are available, and 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 help you fulfil those.

Older couple looking away from the camera towards a path

What services can an end of life doula provide?

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 available to them
  • navigating the health system, planning, and coordination of services and support networks
  • assisting with organising legal documentation, advance care directives, emotional wills, funeral planning, and 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 personal values and preferences
  • advocacy and provision of support through all stages of the end of life and into bereavement
  • facilitating access to information and understanding of resources

Just as every person is unique, so is every illness, ageing process, and end of life. End of life doula services are individualised to suit your needs.