Have you ever heard of an end-of-life doula? While most people recognize the term doula as related to birth and babies, there are now doulas specializing in death and dying.
For those who have received the unfortunate news that they have a terminal illness or that their health is declining, it can be comforting to have someone who is not a friend or family member guide you through these final months. That is the role of an end-of-life doula.
What an end-of-life doula does
A doula is not a nurse. It’s important to make that distinction. They are not there to provide medical care. That said, their role is still very important to terminally ill patients and their families.
It’s all about providing support in the form of resources, education and friendship. They work alongside patient’s medical teams. They are in no way a replacement or alternative to traditional medicine, but rather an additional service. Doulas set boundaries and work within them.
Doulas are there to help people transition through this difficult time.
How to become one?
A doula in this capacity is not the same as a hospice volunteer. A doula’s role is very personalized and with differ from client to client, as everyone has different needs in terms of support and education.
To become a doula one should take the proper courses to obtain an end-of-life doula certificate. You can reach out to the End of Life Doulas Association of Canada to inquire about training programs.
Doctors, nurses and hospice care workers can also take this training. They don’t necessary want to become doulas, but want to improve their end-of-life care skills. Many medical professionals are trained in the medical side of death, but perhaps lack skills when it comes to dealing with the emotional side.
This training is a great way to upgrade skills and offer patients incredible care.
If you or a loved one have received the news that the end of life is near and you’re struggling to cope with it, consider hiring an doula specializing in end-of-life support.
Whether you have years, months and days to live, it can be helpful to have someone there to usher you through these changes.
You can also contact us at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home & Cremation Centre for resources and recommendations.