Here are some answers to those lingering questions:
Why would I need an End of Life Practitioner or Death Doula? End of Life Practitioners or Death Doulas are a calming and reassuring presence with experience and knowledge of the death process, and a compassionate resource for families who may be overwhelmed and grieving at the impending death of their loved one. Death Doulas offer a variety of services to assist in the transition of dying, but are first and foremost a grounding, reliable, knowledgeable and comforting presence during a most emotional time.
How are you different from what hospice offers? We highly recommend every individual and family facing a terminal illness and end of life to call their local hospice as soon as possible. Though our doula services do not replace hospice’s medical team of nursing and physician care, we complement hospice teams seamlessly. We offer more time, more personalized attention, more continuity at bedside, more advocacy, and more availability beyond what hospice is normally able to provide due to health guidelines. Our extensive training exceeds what hospice volunteer programs provide as each of us have faced in depth our fears and emotions around death. We are trained and practiced to hold space with intense and difficult emotions. Our full-time presence and companionship at vigil and at death, our advocacy in hospitals or at home, our coaching to customize end-of-life care plans for spiritual, physical, practical and life review needs, and most of all, our consistent relationships with our clients are not a service offered anywhere else.
When should I contact an End of Life Practitioner or Death Doula? Death Doulas can be contacted at any time during the end of life process. The sooner the doula can enter into the process, the more time can be spent getting to know the individual and family, creating quality care plans, prioritizing end of life needs, and creating sacred space and meaning for the individual and family.
Do End of Life Practitioners or Death Doulas charge for their services? Some do, some do not. Some operate as donation only, some have a specific pay structure like packages or hourly rates based on the specific services provided, some have a sliding scale. Regardless, this part of the client-doula relationship should be clearly communicated and established from the beginning.