Frequently Asked Questions
What is an End-of-Life Doula?
According to the End-of-Life Doula Association of Canada: End-of-life doulas empower, educate and encourage people and their families to be involved in making decisions. The word "doula" is Greek for servant or helper. Like a birth doula supports women during the labor process, a death doula supports a person during the dying process. This support is specific to that person's needs, beliefs, and desires. Death is a process that can span over months or even years rather than an event and doulas can help with supporting and planning for the future, regardless of diagnosis or illness. Having a conversation or making a plan when you are healthy, is encouraged by doulas so that the care received at the end of life is appropriate and aligned with your wishes.
How do I select an End of Life Doula?
End-of-Life Doulas are unregulated. This does not mean that their services aren't needed or helpful. Think of the length of time midwifes and birth doulas worked before becoming regulated and incorporated into the health care system.
When selecting a doula, you may wish to think of your preferences:
What communication and social styles do you prefer?
Are you able to work with a doula remotely (via computer or phone), or do you require in-person support?
Would your doula need to share a similar cultural background (race, faith, ethnicity, etc.)?
What are your true expectations for outcomes?
Review the End-of-Life's Doula website, blogs, and video. You will gain a true sense of the person. If the writing resonates with you, it's likely a good fit. National End-of-Life Doula Alliance lists additional criteria to consider and some questions you may wish to ask.
When should I reach out to an End-of-Life Doula?
It's never too late or too soon to reach out to an End-of-Life Doula. Ideally, you will have the support of a doula through all four stages of palliative care:
Stage 1: Stable – Developing and Implementing the Care Plan
Stage 2: Unstable – Adjusting the Care Plan & Preparing Emotionally
Stage 3: Deteriorating – Shifting to End-of-Life-Care
Stage 4: Terminal – Symptom Management, Emotional & Spiritual Care
Do you provide services virtually or in-person?
All my services can be delivered virtually, through a combination of video chats, text messages and phone calls. In-person visits are also available in communities between Kingston and Orleans.
What makes you different from other End-of-Life Doulas?
I was a caregiver for a decade while my husband was receiving palliative services. Widowed in 2016, I am personally familiar grief. As a Life Coach since 2014 I have supported nearly 100 clients through personal transformation. My goal is to support the dying and surviving family member reach their goals. I see a peaceful and beautiful death as another personal goal.
What religion are you?
I am a spiritual person, although raised Catholic, I have studied many religions. As an End-of-Life Doula, I will follow your lead. What do you believe happens when the bodies dies?