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What is a DEATH DOULA Anyway?

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Doula (noun)

ˈdu lə

A person trained to provide advice, information, emotional and psychological support and end of life care guidance.

The most common use of the term ‘doula’ is in reference to the support provided around birth. In recent years, the term doula is also being used for persons 

providing support on the other end of the human experience, death. A death doula is also referred to as an end of life doula or ‘EOLD’.  The end of life doula is an area of expertise being drawn upon more frequently for those in search of a conscious death.

Death doulas often work with terminally ill patients and their families from initial diagnosis through the bereavement period. They can assist caregivers, help with respite care and grief and work collaboratively with a client's circle of care including hospice.  

Hospice does a great job taking care of the medical aspect of dying, but due to the changing nature of healthcare compensation, little time is  left for the other aspects of dying that are just as important for a peaceful passing.  End-of-life doula services fit that need.  These other aspects include anxiety, fear, restlessness, and all the other psychological and existential arisings that can occur during the end of life.

A doula also offers an olive branch in helping getting one's affairs in order and creating an environment for a dying person's wishes.  The end of life experience is so different for each person and it is best not to hold out any expectations or attitudes about how things should go.   Death is a  dynamic mystery and whatever unfolds during the dying process is held, honored, and fully accepted.

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