An End of Life Doula is there to support a person, and those that they love, with a terminal diagnosis. We work in the person’s home as well as Hospices, Hospitals and Care Homes. We are there for the frail, elderly and those living with dementia too.
Our non-medical role is to preserve the quality of wellbeing, sense of identity and self-worth from the moment we are called upon.
We are there at any stage from the beginning when a person has received the news they have a life limiting illness through to the final months and weeks, and beyond to funeral planning.
We are sensitive to practical and emotional (plus spiritual if important) needs. We are a consistent and compassionate presence with knowledge, experience and understanding. This supports those that we are alongside to exercise choice about where and how they are cared for. We facilitate an end of life that it is as peaceful, graceful, meaningful and dignified as it can be.
The person and those they love are at the very centre of all we do.
Another important aspect to our role is to be available to people at any stage in their lives to share our knowledge and provide guidance on death and dying - our aim is to bring dying 'home' in our Communities as we believe it is all of our business and not the sole preserve of experts and professionals. We work in communities in so many other ways – providing information and guidance to demystify Living Wills, Advance Decisions (known as Advance Directives in Scotland), funeral arrangements, bereavement and grief support, navigating through the labyrinth of health, social care and government agencies and so on.
- 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 they love practically and emotionally