What is an End-of-Life Doula?
I am an End-of-Life Doula; our non-medical role is “to preserve the quality of wellbeing, sense of identity and self-worth from the moment we are called upon”. (this description is directly from EoLD-UK, to which I am a member)
Doula is from the ancient Greek, meaning caregiver or helper. Effectively a doula is a companion through a period of life. You may have heard of Birth Doula’s? Both are fairly new concepts in the UK, but there is a notable growth in the engagement of birth doulas to support a woman through their pregnancy and birth.
In the UK the engagement with an End-of-Life Doula, is a new concept, but not so knew that we don’t have a membership organisation. End of Life Doula UK was set up in June 2018 and its members have all been trained by their sister company Living Well Dying Well, abide by its Code of Conduct and are self-employed but work within a peer mentoring system.
I’ve borrowed this from the website:
Guide people through all the decisions and choices that need to be made at the end of life
- Be alongside so the person can live the life that’s left
- Offer practical and emotional support to loved ones
- Be a point of contact for the other services and kinds of support
- Be an advocate when wishes need to be upheld
- Co-ordinate personal visits
- Organise help such as giving family carers a break
- Take time to sit with the dying person – as a companion, to listen, talk, provide comfort and reassurance or just ‘be’
- Have conversations so death is approached without fear or loneliness
- Be practical: providing care, walking the dog, doing housework, preparing meals, making a cup of tea, running errands
- Be available when the person has died to support those important to them practically and emotionally
I find that working as a Doula fits perfectly alongside my work and training as an Independent Celebrant. The role of both a doula and a celebrant are non-medical roles. As a doula my role is to preserve the quality of wellbeing and sense of identity and self-worth of a person who is dying, from the moment I am first called upon. I can offer physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical support and guidance. As an end-of-life celebrant I can offer the same to the family as we arrange a funeral, memorial or other life celebration for the person that has died.