End of life doula.
              So, what are end of life services?

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End of life -

Refers to the final or end process of someone's life (can be months, weeks or days) where medically they are determined as having a limited amount of time remaining.  They may be diagnosed with a life-threatening, or life-limiting condition, a terminal illness or be considered palliative, requiring management of symptoms and comfort care.

Doula -

The word doula stems from ancient Greek, translating as 'a woman who serves'. Today a doula refers to a role (male or female) where someone is trained and experienced in providing emotional, logistical, physical, spiritual and informational support to someone experiencing the beginning of life, i.e. birth, or the end of life, i.e. death experience.

 

My end of life support and guidance role can be referred to in community settings as several different titles, including death doula; end of life doula; midwife to the dying; end of life coach or consultant; transition coach. I guarantee that this is not a role, or a service that a majority of 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, guidance 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.  Numerous times I have heard from people that they only stop to consider their end of life preferences when they are faced with their own terminal diagnosis, or when circumstances land them in the role of caring for a dying loved one, or when someone they love has recently died.

 

I cannot tell you how many times I been told by 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 struggled to  navigate 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, as in all decisions we make throughout life, our end of life choices are equally ours to make. 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. Maybe you want prior knowledge and understanding of all funeral options to put your own specific plans into place.  Maybe you are looking for an understanding ear, someone to hold space for hard conversations.

 The growing awareness and acceptance of this role highlights the fact that more people understand that our loved ones, and we ourselves, deserve choice, options and diversity.  That people are seeking end of life options that differ to those that have always been available, 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.

In my sacred work 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 have significant positive impact from the point of a life-limiting diagnosis, right through to the grief support sought after a death.