What are end of life services?
At this point in time, the end of life support role, currently referred to in our communities as many different titles, (death doula; end of life doula; midwife to the dying; death coach; transition coach) is not a role, or a service that many people are familiar with. The end of life support, care and advocacy service that I offer, therefore deserves its own explanation.
End of life support and companioning is not a standard service that everyone would require, nor it is typically a service that families are aware of or seek to consider in advance. Many times I hear from people that they only stop to consider their preferred support needs when they are faced with a terminal diagnosis or take on the role of caring for a loved one with a life limiting illness. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from families, "I wish I had known about you and your services sooner". Typically, this conversation occurs when I am supporting a family with creating and facilitating a funeral service, after caregivers have navigated the dying process largely on their own.
It is evident to me that most people simply do not understand that there are alternate options available in conjunction with the current medical model and support infrastructure. This role, is the intermediary between medical/health/palliative care and the funeral industry.
My desire is to educate our community to understand that, just as in life, our end of life choices are ours to make and there are personalised options available. If end of life care and support is a consideration for you then you are most likely already facing living with a chronic, terminal or life limiting condition, or alternately caring for someone who is.
What this highlights is the growing acceptance that our loved ones, and we ourselves, deserve end of life options that differ to those currently available, or different to the clinical model that has become the norm over the past 100 years. Much like a childbirth doula, my role is to provide advice, information, emotional and spiritual support, companionship and physical comfort before, during, and after the dying process to the dying person and most often their primary carer/s.
In my speciality as an End of Life Guide I offer a diverse scope of services specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual and the family during these challenging and emotional transitions. These services are not limited to immediately prior, or directly after, the death of a loved one. Many of these services can have significant positive impact from the point of a life-limiting diagnosis.