What Is A Death Doula?

When a death occurs, life does not wait for you to grieve. Life carries on and in these times of need it may be helpful to have someone that can help you carry on, such as a “death doula” or End-Of-Life Doula. When most people think of doulas, they think of them for child birth and labor. Birth and postpartum doulas help bring a life into the world and prepares the mother (and family) for the process. Conversely, a death doula helps a person, and their family, prepare for a someone’s departure from the world.

What Can A Doula Do For You?

death doulas

A doula is not a therapist or a healthcare worker, they are a companion. A doula is able to support the terminally ill individual and their family spiritually, emotionally, and physically. They bring with them a fountain of knowledge and patience.

A doula can prepare an individual for the process of dying and help them to relax and be able to let go when they are ready. They are not involved in the medical care of the dying person, they are simply there to provide support. The support can come in many forms, such as praying with them, guided meditation, sitting with them during their final hours, keeping them company, write their stories, creating scrapbooks with them, writing a will, and helping them to plan their funeral.

The doula is also there for the family. Death may be difficult for family members to accept, especially if a terminal diagnosis comes sudden and unexpectedly. They can offer assistance by being present for support, listening to the family as they work through the grieving process, and couching the family through the process. Having a stable person guiding a family through their grief and managing final arrangements for the deceased can help create harmony, understanding, and facilitate acceptance of a loved-one’s death.

Where Do Death Doulas Work And Are They Qualified?

They go where ever the person in need is. They can be found at homes or in hospice facilities and they can be long- or short-term. Some people may want to have a doula once they are diagnosed with a terminal illness to help them prepare their final wishes, funeral, or begin the process of accepting death. Whereas other may want someone for their final days only. The person does not need to be receiving hospice services to have a doula present.

The International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA) has been providing End-of-Life Doula education certification since 2016, but it’s beginning and demand began back in 2003. Doula education is a short-term course that delves into the planning of services, rituals, and working with the grieving, to name a few. Doula training is now available on-line so more and more of those that are interested can have access to the education. Once the course is completed the individual is INELDA-certified as an End-of-Life Doula.

Where To Find A Doula

Doulas can be found online and an extensive list is available through the INELDA for any state. Some end-of-life doulas work for an hourly rate and some volunteer their services. If an end-of-life doula may be right for you, call around and find the best match for you and your family.

Check out more content:

How To Support a Grieving Loved One

10 Ways To Save On Funeral Costs

How To Prepare For the Death of a Parent

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