Death Doula & Death Companioning
What is a Death Doula?
“Advanced care planning is more than just filling out your out your advanced directives. It’s really about how to have conversations with your loved one about what your values are, so that when it comes time for them to make decisions for you, you will have already talked about it. So they aren’t just trying to read a piece of paper. It does not work to just write things down somewhere and tuck it away somewhere; you’ve got to talk to people.” ~ Merilynne Rush, MS in Hospice & Palliative Studies, RN, BSN (Lifespan Doula Association)
A Death Doula/Death Companion provides non-judgmental, non-medical holistic support to those nearing the end of life. Death Doulas can also offer support to the family & friends of the person dying or recently dead.
The support of a Death Companion considers emotional, social, physical and spiritual needs by educating and empowering individuals to make decisions about what they see as a "good death" regarding their own end-of-life care, funeral/memorial and/or final resting place (burial) choices.
Death Doulas may provide physical support in the form of simply holding a hand at bedside or offering gentle massage to hands, arms, feet and lower legs.
For social and emotional needs a Death Companion can assist in facilitating conversation with family & friends about Advanced Care Directives; helping be sure the clients wishes are understood as well as documented for medical staff, family and friends. Talking about and planning certain directives in advance can help alleviate unnecessary stress for everyone involved.
Overall, the largest role a Death Companion can have is in helping bridge the gap between heath care (talking with nurses or doctors) and death care (talking with a funeral director, cemetery personnel, etc.) as well as help the dying person and/or family members focus on what can be done versus what cannot or feeling stuck in the "why is this happening?" loop.
My goal as a Death Companion for you is to help you and/or your loved ones reduce worry, fear, and stress regarding end of life information and decisions by helping you find peace, inner strength, resolve and serenity.