You may not be familiar with the work of Death Doulas, or End of Life Doulas. These non-medical professional are trained to provide assistance, education, care and support to their clients who are facing end-of-life. Death Doulas work with their clients in homes, care facilities, hospices or hospitals. They may be hired by the client or the client’s family to help fill the gaps in support that exist between what hospice can provide and what is realistically needed by the client and the client’s family. Death Doula assistance comes in the form of emotional, spiritual, and physical support and each doula brings their own unique skills, experiences, and backgrounds to their work with their clients.

When it comes to end of life options, Death Doulas work directly with clients to educate them about all options available, as well as to provide support for whatever option their client may choose. These options may include pursuing a natural course for their particular disease process, choosing Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD – in states where this is available) to alleviate suffering, or using Voluntary Stopping and Eating (VSED) as a way of shortening the time to death. Death Doulas can also facilitate access to providers who work with clients for options such as MAiD and can be available to assist with that choice when the time comes.

Finding a Death Doula is as easy as using an online search engine to look for a Death Doula in your area. There are also national directories and directories for training agencies that will list what doulas are available in your city or region. As well, there are collectives and collaboratives of doulas, such as the Colorado End of Life Collaborative. If you need assistance in locating a doula in your area, please reach out to us at info@endoflifeoptionscolorado.org, and we would be happy to help in your search.

by Cindy Kaufman, MEd, EdS,

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