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The Celebrant Gold Coast End of Life Doula

Photo Credit: Sedg White

End of Life Doula (EoLD)

 

So here I am, giving the whole death and dying experience a bit of a shake-up and just meeting people where they’re at with a whole bucketload of kindness and compassion.

Did you know that End of Life Doula’s (also known as Death Doula’s) have been a familiar concept in many cultures around the world for thousands of years? In western cultures such as Australia, dying in nursing homes, hospitals and hospices has become the more familiar trend for the dying with less than 14% of the population dying at home and not always by choice.

As an EoLD, I provide independent and holistic non-medical and emotional support for those with a life limiting disease or terminal illness, while also supporting those who care for them.

An End of Life Doula is more than a Death Doula. You don’t have to wait to be dying to engage an EoLD. It makes sense to plan ahead where possible without the emotion that comes with an unexpected terminal medical diagnosis. But we all know that sometimes life turns up a card unexpectedly so time can be limited.

One of the most often asked questions of me after “What is an End of Life Doula?” is “Why would/did you want to be an EoLD?”  I know there should be a “lightbulb” moment like in the movies, but it kind of crept up on me over a long time, in fact since 1993 when my Mum died. Here’s how I think it happened:

    • Experiencing some very underwhelming experiences with death and dying throughout my life and thinking that as a community we could and should do this better.
    • Wanting to give people options for a more heart centred experience around dying including their after care.
    • Encouraging more gentle conversations around death and dying and how and where we want to die.
    • The absolute honour of travelling beside those who are facing end of life realities and those who love and care for them.
    • Complementing the medical team of the person dying.
    • Educating my community on options and resources around dying.

If your family are like mine, where their eyes roll back in their head when you start talking about your death plan, then talking with an End of Life Doula might just give you some fresh ideas on how to navigate this tricky subject both for yourself and your loved ones.  Talking about death doesn’t make it happen any quicker, it just prepares us for the journey ahead, so we can live our best life until the end.

You don’t need to be dying to have an end-of-life plan and you can just “set and forget” until you need it and make changes anytime along the way. I like to think it’s complementary to your Advance Care Plan.  It can also be a blueprint to how you live the remainder of your life. But if it’s a bit more urgent, then please reach out for an obligation free chat.

Here are some of the end-of-life services I offer:

 

    • Advocating on your behalf with your medical and nursing team and care providers so that your wishes are carried out wherever possible.
    • Providing direction for the completion of legal documents including Advance Care Plans, Power of Attorney, Wills, Financial / Admin / Guardianship. Please be aware I am unable to provide specific legal advice.
    • Supporting your religious and spiritual traditions and rituals and practices including coordinating complementary therapists if requested leading up to your death.
    • Assisting and supporting you and your care givers to understand the details around dying and what you may expect as your journey progresses.
    • Accompanying and supporting you and your family in the immediate hours prior to your death (also known as holding vigil) if required.
    • Advice and support around after death care.
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Ruth was my husband’s End of Life Doula in the final 8 days of his life. While never having experience of this service before my husband’s final journey towards death, I was so grateful for Ruth’s calm and respectful compassion during this uncertain time. With the permission of the medical team of the Gold Coast Private Hospital, Ruth accompanied my husband in the days leading up to his death. Throughout this time I was so grateful that she liaised with the medical team, obtaining information on my husband’s care and relaying that to me in a compassionate manner. I felt so cared for by Ruth during the long hours at my husbands bedside as she ensured both my husband and my comfort. Ruth was able to allay my fears as my husband’s final hours neared and I was so grateful for her compassion and friendship during this difficult time and to be fully present as he took his last breath. Thank you Ruth for all that you did for my husband and I during this time.

~ Lyn, Runnaway Bay