Most people these days are aware of the existence of Birthing Doulas. They work alongside the midwife to provide emotional, spiritual comfort and practical assistance to the mother and to gently lead the newborn into the world.
Now, there has emerged in our modern society a non-medical role: End of Life Doulas, individuals who help those who are dying and their families, to feel safe and supported, as they make the transition from this life to whatever is next and awaiting all of us.
Doulas are not a new idea. In indigenous cultures around the globe for thousands of years, people have stayed in their homes to die. They are usually looked after by their family and the local community. In the western world, this concept has been undermined by a gradual shift towards hospitalisation, taking responsibility away from the person and those around them. However, an End of Life Doula makes it possible to make death an intimate, spiritual and peaceful experience for everyone involved.
Taking care of someone at home is a big decision for a family. But the end of life can be a lonely experience for those who are in nursing homes or even a hospital. An end of Life Doula’s aim is to support people to live their life as meaningfully as possible right to the end while making it more comfortable and natural for them to die at home if that is their wish.