End of Life CompanionsDoulas
Ordinary citizens making a difference to end of life care in their wider community
End of Life Companions and Doulas
Ordinary people with confidence, knowledge and skills to be with death and dying
We see what we do not as a medical role, but a community-led response to support those at the end of life, and those close to them.
Only 5% of the time that a patient spends at end of life is in front of a doctor or a nurse. 95% of time for a dying person, or a grieving person is spent alone, or with family, or work colleagues or with their dog, or with the television or the internet. A big public question in end of life care is ‘what are we doing in the 95%?’
Professor Alan Kellehear
End of Life Doulas and Companions offer loving support, kindness and respect for all concerned, especially holding the person who is dying at the centre, filling this gap.
An EoL Doula may:
- provide practical, emotional and spiritual support (if required)
- take time to sit with the dying person in companionship, to listen, talk, provide comfort and reassurance.
- share knowledge of local resources that can help at the end of life, or coaching family and friends on what to expect before and after death.
- guide people through all the decisions and choices that need to be made at the end of life.
- act as an advocate when personal wishes need to be upheld.
- be a consistent point of contact for the dying person and other support services.
- re-empower families who may wish to care for their dying at home, hospital or nursing home.
Working as an EoLDoula or Companion
Once trained, some choose to volunteer in their role and others charge a fee for their work. We do not suggest the Doula role as a full-time career because we are aware, if we are to be alongside others as a consistent and flexible companion at such a profound time, it asks a lot from us. Self-care and self-reflection are integral to the training as we find ways of maintaining our own well-being and the quality of presence needed.
End of Life Doula UK (EoLDUK)
Once learners have completed their Foundation training, they are eligible to join our partner organisation, End of Life Doula UK, and can work with a mentor in support of friends, family and neighbours as an End of Life Companion. The Association brings members together with each other through regional groups, online, at events and professional development days. This sharing of experience, gives everyone the opportunity to grow individually and as a community of practice.
End of Life Doula UK gives practical on-going support and mentoring to Doulas as they begin to practice, as well as managing referrals and requests for Doula support. Full details can be found on their website https://eol-doula.uk/why-come-to-end-of-life-doula-uk/