What is an End of Life Doula?
End of Life Doulas accompany those facing death, in a non clinical way, providing comfort and companionship, and assisting with discussions around funerals and advance care planning. When faced with mortality and loss, an End of Life Doula can support you and and dearest to you to find a healing path.
Personally, I also offer individual and group training and support for people who work in palliative care or with dying patients. Having worked in community palliative care, I know how underprepared you can feel for helping others die with peace and dignity, and I also know how hard it can be to work through the emotions that can arise. My aim is to provide the tools you need to support others through this time.
Why and when do I need a Doula?
If you were to suddenly pass away, would your family know your wishes? If your answer to his question is "no" or "I'm not sure" then i believe you could benefit from an End of Life Doula.
Death comes with a lot of uncertainty and finality, this is often the reason that no one likes to talk about it, but the truth is death can happen at any time. By contacting an End of Life Doula and having some tough conversations around grief and death, even when you're young and healthy, you can save a lot of unnecessary conflict and stress when you do reach the end of your life.
Of course, if you have been given a life-limiting diagnosis you'll find yourself faced with a lot of hard decisions in a moment that's already filled with so much fear and uncertainty. As someone who is experienced with the process of dying and grief, I can help you navigate these decisions and offer the support you and your family need during this time.
As an End of Life Doula I can also help you walk through grief whether it's the recent death of a loved one, old wounds that never healed, or the death of a beloved pet.
What does dying look like?
The simple answer is dying will and should look different for every person. Whether you have time to prepare for death or it happens suddenly, everyone deals with death differently and has different wishes about their end of life. My role is to help you figure out what you want dying to look like and put the pieces in place for you. That might mean facilitating open conversations with partners and family about grief, helping you organise care so you can die at home, or even finding someone to care for your pets once you're gone.
Another question I get around this is: How long will dying take? This is normal considering the fear and uncertainty that comes with a life-limiting diagnosis but unfortunately this is not something I can answer. Your medical professional might be able to offer some clarification around time frames but the best thing we can do, is make sure that everything is in place and that you and those closest to you are prepared.
Can I die at home?
Yes. Dying at home is something that many people seem to prefer and yet very few do because of the lack of support services available and a lack of preparation leading up to their final days. In many situations, with the right information and preparation, home, hospice and dying at home is possible, and means that you or your loved one can spend their final moments surrounded by family and love in an environment where your are all comfortable. As an End of Life Doula I can help organise this and coordinate the right services to make dying at home possible.
This can be a difficult time and, as with any partnership, it's important to make sure we're the right fit. I'd love to meet you for a chat and a coffee to hear your story and discuss my services to support you and your loved ones. All initial consultations are free and can take place at my home office, your home, or at an agreed location.
I am based in the Toowoomba region, however can travel with a reasonable distance.