What is an end of life doula?
The word ‘doula‘ — pronounced ‘doo-la’ — is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant or caregiver’.
A doula- also known as a birth companion and post-birth supporter is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during and after childbirth as well as her spouse and or/family, by providing physical assistance, education and emotional support.
An end of life doula can be described in the same way, a non-medical companion and supporter who walks beside a person on their end of life journey. They may be required before, during or after death for the passing as well as their spouse and or family, by providing emotional support, resources, organization skills, options and physical support (massage, reiki, relaxation tools, a hand to hold and the occasional beauty treatment are good examples of physical support in end of life).
End of life doulas work with people who have been given a life-limiting diagnosis or those planning for and or approaching their end of life and or those close to them.
Doulas are engaged in the end of life support and care in many cultures. It is not a new concept; it is only in the modern western world we see death being hidden away and over-medicalised. Which can be very isolating and sombre for those who are passing and for their families.