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the end-of-life doula

Throughout history, women have played a key role in their communities, caring for those nearing the end of life and supporting their love ones. This once common practice greatly diminished over the last century with the rise of nursing homes and care facilities. In more recent years, however, there has been an increasing demand for more direct, personalized assistance and care in this field. 

The word “Doula” simply means servant. An End-of-life Doula (EOLD) is an individual specifically trained and experienced in serving the needs of those with a terminal diagnosis.

What an End-of-life Doula does:

An EOLD takes a personal, holistic (meaning ‘whole’) approach with her care recipients. The primary aim of an EOLD is attending to the comfort of the individual. This not only includes their physical comfort, but their emotional, psychological, and spiritual comfort, as well. 
A Gentle Guidings EOLD strives to make each day as full of value and purpose as possible for her care recipient. She will form a trusted relationship, offering compassionate companionship and guidance. She will assist with planning and preparations for end-of-life concerns such as health and care directives, and final wishes. She will also network with necessary agencies and advocate for her care recipient’s best interests. In addition, supportive considerations are offered to families and caretakers—those immediately involved, who may be daunted or exhausted by the many responsibilities of their roles.

What an End-of-life Doula doesn’t do:

An End-of-life Doula is not responsible for personal care (bathing, dressing, or mobility), although she may perform light tasks to comfort the patient. For example, she may gently wipe a care recipient’s face, apply lotion to rough/dry skin, and so on.

An End-of-life Doula also does not provide medical care and will not interfere with a care recipient’s medical team. She will, however, correspond with medical and care teams while advocating for her care recipient’s optimal comfort.

For more information about Gentle Guiding’s EOLD personal support services, please visit our ‘Services‘ page.