An End-of-Life Doula ... is a 'person of service' ...
We are all travelling in the same direction ... toward our end-of-life, however, for many this is a very confronting thought. As a society, we are not very 'death' literate, we tend to avoid talking about death, dying, or even making plans for this inevitable, beautiful transition in life.
Talking about death, making your personal choices known, planning for what you want before, during and after death is very empowering and helps you accept your mortality. Being prepared and having everything in place ... is the secret that allows you a new freedom to get on with living.
"There is a lot of change happening around how people are considering their options for end of life and death. They want this time in their life to be more personal and meaningful than what traditional ways have offered. With the growing awareness of the availability of End-of-Life Doula services in Australia, more people are choosing to have this one to one personal service included in their end of life plan.
Individuals and their families, who have had the support of an EOL doula, have expressed how comforting it is to know that they have had that person beside them, who they can trust to guide them and be with them every step of the process. They help to keep everything functioning when there is so much confusion and uncertainty and you know that 'they have your back no matter what'.
As an End-of-Life Doula, my role is diverse and varied, so I see myself like a PA - Personal Assistant who meets you where you are at and we work from there. The role is non-medical and leans more to 'bridging the gap' when medical and other professional services are not present, for continuity of care and continuity of 'around-the-clock' support. It may be guidance with options or it may be more involved depending on what support a person wants. I may be asked to help prepare an Advance Care Plan and wishes, or to work alongside a family to help them navigate through the overwhelm of an illness or terminal diagnosis, or to keep check of what resources they need, or to give emotional support when they need someone to confide in, other than their family.
This can be a very painful emotional time for the person dying and also for their family. Caring for a loved one at home can be very challenging, confronting and confusing and to have someone there for them for reassurance, practical support and emotional support can make a big difference for them during the dying process. For those who wish to have their loved one with them at home after death, then together we can prepare their body for temporary care at home. The family may want guidance with options when planning for a traditional, non-traditional or more natural approach for a funeral or how they would like to celebrate their loved one's life, and of course there is the legal 'stuff' to consider. It is very unique and individual to each persons wishes and how they want to create an authentic, meaningful and memorable celebration.
How much or how little my services are required, is totally up to the individual who is requesting the support and their family. To be in the position to offer end-of-life doula services ... is an honour and a privilege".
"All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart". Tahereh Mafi
There is no certainty of how young or how old, or when or how we are going to die. And there is no certainty that we will have the capacity to communicate our wishes and desires at the crucial time of needing medical care and at end-of-life. So, when we reach an age where we are responsible for ourselves, it is very important that we have our wishes clearly documented, so that everyone involved in our care team has clear guidance. We need to talk about our plans to our family, friends or those in the position to make decisions on our behalf, so they know what our wishes are.
FREE ADVANCE CARE PLANNING SERVICE:
Not sure were to start with your Advance Care Plan and end of life wishes?
Safe conversations are a key part of the process
and to have someone guide you through the process,
can make it so much easier.
If you would like some help with your end-of-life planning and
make a time for this confidential FREE service,
please call Marg on 0438 363 525.
It is also very important to have a network of support around you during the end-of-life stage. In some areas, the availability of home-based palliative care is minimal and some people don't have a network of family and other support to help them. An end-of-life doula is trained to support you with any non-medical needs, during the stages of end-of-life and be there for you through death.
What does an End of Life Doula provide?
BEFORE – NOW ... before an illness or diagnosis …
* assistance with getting personal affairs in place,
* Advance Care Planning and End-of-Life Planning to support future decision making,
* education - about end-of-life, death and funeral/celebration of life and the options
available to you.
DURING – an illness with or without a terminal diagnosis …
* offer mindful, compassionate support and comfort to people approaching death
* in home support for those who would like to be in the comfort of their
own home during the end-of-life stage.
* establish a calm, loving and compassionate environment
* 'Be there for you' to listen and talk with open, honest communication
* mediate and facilitate good communication between all parties involved in your care
* help with stress relief techniques to reduce the overwhelm
* liaise with your medical & care team to help ‘bridge any gaps’ and ensure
continuity of care and quality of life
* encourage self-efficacy and self-advocacy for you and your family to implement
your needs & wishes
* co-ordinate access to necessary services and resources
* compassionate care for you and your family during and through the end-of-life
* healing touch and vigil for a peaceful transition.
AFTER DEATH – support with home-based death care ...
* assistance for families with after death body care ... 'to have time with you/or your
loved one at home'
* help with funeral, celebration of life, or ritual planning and Do It Yourself funerals
* compassionate support and /or counselling for family members during their time of grief.
Natural Death Advocacy Network.
Australian Doula College.
End of Life Doula support for you and your family
FREE - Initial 30 minute no obligation consultation:
Our initial consultation is by phone, or in my consulting room at Newlyn. During the conversation we will talk about you and your needs and I will give you some insights into how my doula service may help and support you and/or your family.
So, please give me a call on 0438 363 525 for a chat.