End-of-Life Doulas: Who Are Death Doulas & What Do They Do? by 30Seconds Health
Most people only know about birth doulas – many have yet to learn about death doulas. Don't worry if you're among those who aren't familiar with who death doulas are and what they do, because this article discusses them in detail for a clear understanding. If you already know who these individuals are, you can still may learn a thing or two about how they can help one prepare for the afterlife.
If you’re currently planning a funeral for a family member or a friend, you may want to check out services offered by providers like Willed to help you make the necessary arrangements.
Who's an End-of-Life Doula?
Generally, a doula is someone who cares for and guides a pregnant woman when giving birth. The word doula originates from the Greek word doule, referring to a female servant. Currently, there are birth doulas and end-of-life-doulas.
End-of-life doulas are individuals who offer support emotionally, spiritually and physically to a dying person and the family. Also known as "soul midwives," these individuals help ensure a smooth transition to the next life, and the wishes of the departing person are fulfilled before and after death. While a doula's role isn't medical, they work closely with the dying person's medical team to ensure their death is as comfortable as possible. Doulas work in hospices, hospitals, homes and other caregiving facilities.
It's important to note that though the word doula evolved around feminism. Currently, there are end-of-life doulas of different genders.
What Does An End-of-Life Doula Do?
Death (or end-of-life) doulas assist in bringing peace and meaning to the dying process while preparing the dying person for their last breath. Also, these individuals help prepare the family and loved ones for the passing of their family member. In a nutshell, you can term an end-of-life doula as a friend in the time of death.
An end-of-life doula's duties vary depending on the client's requirements. For instance, they can focus on practical things such as laundry, caring for the pet or shopping to allow the immediate family time to be with their dying loved one. Also, they might be there to ensure their patient's beliefs are honored before they die and their bodies are well handled after death.
The crucial role of an end-of-life doula is listening and offering non-judgmental advice to the sick person and their loved ones while supporting them emotionally and spiritually. This role might include helping in decision making, offering a shoulder to lean on and engaging in meaningful conversations concerning their last wishes and plans.
Are End-of-Life Doulas Medical Professionals?
Though these individuals might work in hospices, hospitals and other caregiving facilities and work closely with the dying person's medical team, they aren't medical professionals. However, there's training that one undergoes to become a professional death doula. Because death doulas work around sick and dying people, they might require training to ensure they're emotionally and mentally ready to be around departing people and devastated loved ones.
Additionally, unlike health practitioners, death doulas are hired by the departing person or their family after a terminal diagnosis. Certification might not be necessary since the industry is still unregulated. Nevertheless, as a family, it might help to hire a professional death doula with the appropriate certificates to be sure that your loved one is being cared for by an experienced and trained individual.
Why Does Someone Require An End-of-Life Doula?
For some people, either the ones preparing for the next life or the family, doulas are a source of support that can help ensure they experience a peaceful and positive end-of-life experience. When one has adequate support, they tend to have a pain-free experience and be able to speak up about their final thoughts, whether worries or wishes, resulting in a peaceful passing process. Once a loved one dies peacefully, it may become easy for the family and friends to grieve and come to terms with their loved one's demise.
Who Can Get the Services of An End-of-Life Doula?
Any person diagnosed with a terminal condition can seek the assistance of a death doula, regardless of age, gender or spiritual belief. After all, everyone has the right to live their last days peacefully, speak their minds concerning their last words and wishes and pass on comfortably.
Many people are scared of death, whether old or young. And to make the transition easier, they all need support and a friend to talk to during this moment. There's no age limit to who requires an end-of-life doula and who doesn't.
A death doula plays a similar role to a birth doula. The only difference is that a death doula offers support to a dying person and their family. Like a mother requires someone to help them when transiting to motherhood, a dying person can also use some guidance to help them transition to the next life peacefully. With the professional help and support of a death doula, the process may become more peaceful for the dying individual and their loved ones.
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