I recently had the pleasure of working with an End of Life Doula.
She was working for one of our patients with lung cancer who had organised for X to be her end of life doula. Y was an insightful patient and recognised that having a doula would help her situation. Some of her family relationships were difficult and she knew she may need the support of a doula to ensure her wishes were respected.
Y had complete faith in X and mentioned her the first time I visited her at home. It was reassuring as her doctor to know that she had a trustworthy person in place to help her at the end of life and that she had met her and involved her in all her plans. It made my discussions of advance care planning much easier as the idea had already been introduced and Y was comfortable talking about her wishes.
Unfortunately Y needed admitting to the hospice for escalating pain. X needed to be called urgently as Y became rapidly more unwell and it was clear that she was entering the dying phase of her illness. X came back early from holiday to be with Y and her presence was immediately a calming influence
X as so kind and caring with Y staying with her 24/7 for several days when she was dying and helping to reassure her. When Y was not conscious X continued to stay with her, talking to her and being a calming presence in the room.
After Y died X knew what her wishes were regarding donation, funeral directors etc. and assisted in facilitating this also.
Dr C, Hospice
I work as a Ward Sister in an hospice which is where I worked alongside X in her role as End of Life Doula.
The staff were also reassured by X’s presence as we knew that the person was in safe hands and that X would immediately ring the bell whenever she had any concerns/questions eg when the person needed physical care/symptom control etc. The Nursing and Medical Teams commented on how well X worked together with us X became part of the Hospice Team.
Nurse W, Hospice Nurse
I would like to begin with saying what a wonderful idea it is to have an end of life doula for people who need one. To make the final days easier in any way is sublime.
From X’s very first message I knew she was a special sort of person. Who would be perfect to have with you at the end of your days? X...for certain!
X opened up her communication to the rest of the family should they have anything to say to her. In Y’s final days I believe we all sent messages of love to our beloved sibling.
From a Sister
Thank you so much for all you have done for our friend and her friends and family to support and guide us through this difficult journey of dying, death and mourning.
You have been invaluable to enable us all to cope with her loss in the best possible way.
Whatever the official role of a doula is, you have gone over and above in every way.
I have the deepest admiration for your empathy, practicality and commitment (and humour).
From a Friend
The End of Life Doula was kind enough to meet with me when my partner was approaching the end of his life. The time I spent with her was invaluable - it gave me the confidence to face the inevitable and took much of the mystery and fear out of what was to come.
We’d discussed as a family that my partner would like to stay at home, surrounded by his loved ones and his beloved dog, so I wanted to make sure I was fully prepared for what may happen. She talked me through all the stages a person goes through, and what he may experience, and choices I could give him, about visitors, music, his environment, to help him to feel more in control of his final weeks. These prompts helped me to talk openly with him about his last wishes and gave some focus for friends and family to support him.
Her candid, yet warm guidance was a crucial part of the jigsaw that made it possible for my partner to leave us peacefully and for all that loved him to feel part of his final journey. I’ll be forever grateful and would recommend her support to anyone who is sadly facing a similar situation.
From the Partner of A.
After speaking to the headquarters I got more information on who a doula is, what they do, and how I can have a doula as I am going through intense cancer. A phone call later and I was introduced to Diane and a visit later and we were firm friends. So a weekly visit was agreed upon. We filled out the paperwork and I officially have a doula.
Well what a blessing. Diane has gone into bat for me to ensure things are set in place for me. There are so many things you do not know about – like all the forms to fill in for end of life care. Do you want to be resuscitated? These may be tough things to look at but really important.
To have someone gently assist you to consider all the implications is really important. We Brits find it hard to talk about death !! And who knew there was so much to do, and decisions to make around dying? So helpful to have a doula to do this with. Diane has been a good friend and a blessing to have around during this rather intense time of serious illness. So if you are dealing with death and someone suggests a doula – I would say “Go for it” amazing support for you at this time of life. You deserve this caring and assistance.
I have certainly been grateful for Diane – who has been so willing to assist me whenever possible. I cannot imagine going through something like this without my doula. Thank you and bless you Diane for being you.
I called Christmas Eve to say my Father wanted to come home to be with his Family Christmas Day and to die at home. He needed a person to be with him at night. I called End of Life Doula UK to ask for support. After a short pause I heard the words 'We can do that'. My Father died at home with me at his side – the Doula gave me the confidence and support I needed to fulfil his wish.
JB - Devon
He [the End of Life Doula] was indispensable – he stepped in to do anything we needed and was 100% reliable and compassionate in those last months.
TMM - Kent
I was on my knees and needed respite from the care of my Partner who had MND. The Doula stepped in at short notice to cover me and she also talked to the GP to get additional care so I could cope and spend good quality time with Neil.
CM - Brighton
Mum was in a Care Home. She was frightened of dying. She needed someone to talk to about her hopes and fears before she died. Two Doulas were made available to be with her night and day to soothe and comfort her and she went peacefully. I am most grateful because without them I am sure she would have died in distress.
SP - Bradford
I needed to get my affairs in order because I am a single Woman who lives on her own and don't want to leave a mess for Others' to sort out. M helped me do my Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment and my Advance Statement. She made it simple and a pleasure to do! Thank you, M!
MC - Birmingham
L was there for the hardest of times from when K was told that there was no more treatment she could be given, during the last weeks making cups of tea, doing housework, relieving me to sit with K right through to helping me plan K's funeral. I call L every now and then as we went through so much together to make K's dying as good as it could be. My heart is broken.
HP - Edinburgh
I enlisted the help of End of Life Doula UK when my Mum was approaching the end of her life. She had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 27 years and was living in a care home. To this day I can’t believe how lucky we were. [End of Life Doula] was our saviour and I can’t imagine how this would have turned out without her. She understood what we were dealing with and dealt with our enormous difficulties incredibly skilfully. She helped us navigate through Mums death and her funeral. Mum had the most wonderful funeral and we were able to come together on that day to give tribute to the wonderful woman she was and that was 100% down to [End of Life Doula]. I can’t thank her enough. Losing someone you love is incredibly difficult, no matter what the circumstances and when it happens, we all need an [End of Life Doula].
CW - Leeds
I sought out (End of Life Doula)’s assistance when my father was nearing end of life after being admitted to hospital with late-stage dementia and acutely altered mental state. It was a very confusing time for myself and my mother. The comprehensiveness of the information and the sympathetic way that (End of Life Doula) provided it was hugely refreshing for all of us involved and gave us a lot more clarity. From that point on, I can safely say that none of the other staff involved in the end of life process came close to providing the level of service that (End of Life Doula) did. Had it not been for this assistance, the process would have been significantly more confusing and upsetting for all of us. Thankfully we were prepared for it and the process was far less daunting than it would have been.
MC - Leeds