From blogs, videos, podcasts and interviews, here you'll find resources that answer your questions about being an end-of-life doula.
Key #1: You must get comfortable with promoting yourself. Period. Otherwise you will be shy about it and that shyness looks like insecurity, even if it's not. People want confident care providers. You must face the fact that you must publicly tell people why you are a person they should invite into their home and family at a vulnerable time. Why are you worthy to take a chance on?
Key #2: You must know how to work with people who are dealing with heavy emotions one-on-one, in couples and in groups. You must continue to better your skills in this area. People are sometimes very afraid and often there can be chaos and misinformation between people and differing views.
Key #3: To be a guide, educator, and someone that people look to help them at the end of life, you actually need to have experience at the end of life. You can't just have one or two family members you have journeyed with. To serve strangers as a professional end-of-life doula, you must have in depth knowledge and experience. How else will you guide them? How else can you state in promotional material that you can actually guide them through this time?
It takes a certain expertise to talk about palliative care prior to hospice, as there are people who are suffering with no idea how to change that. We need to have a certain awareness as we structure our role as an end-of-life doula so that we can guide people to the relief of suffering within hospice or within the acute care healthcare system. We may also need to advocate within our healthcare institutions about getting our clients palliative care.
The reality is that so many people will never come to hospice and they need more support as they die in the healthcare system (outside of hospice).
This new role, that of end-of-life doula, is the amazing 'bridge' role that we need. A holistic, non-medical role of someone who is expert in end of life support and who can accompany and guide a family alongside the medical care they are receiving now. We are an extra set of eyes, hands, and loving presence. We are guides to supportive and palliative care before hospice entry. We are extra hands and presence at the bedside and with a family during final hours. We can do all of that.
This role also has its very own set of rules and subtleties about it. It is not like any other role. There are unique barriers to the field that are more than just that “people don’t know you are here yet.” Don't be hard on yourself when you can't figure all of this out in one weekend doula training. It truly is not possible to learn the art and skill and practical aspects in that way, in such a short time. It really takes time to be comfortable and confident coming into your community as an end-of-life doula in private practice.
Once you know the art of serving the dying, and are comfortable with THAT, then a whole new issue arises: Developing your practice.
Your practice needs to address this aspect as well. Supporting people who are dying is not just about doing vigil the last days of life when the person is on hospice. It is about serving the dying who may not want to die, who may not have adequate
As you build the structure of your practice, you must build that structure on the foundation of those three key concepts. By moving through this learning curve and implementing these concepts, you’ll begin to build your practice with a strong base.
Be kind to yourself. We were not born knowing how to do this. If it does not come naturally to you, you are in very good company. Most ventures such as this require you to study with a mentor, someone who knows how to guide you through unfamiliar territory.
Love to you on your journey as you lay the foundation to the framework of your private practice. I am so happy to share with you what I have learned from hard won experience and it is my honor to help you get to where YOU want to be.
We are all in this together. We are changing the geography of dying, one person at a time. If we build strong supports for ourselves, the doula in private practice, we will be able to sustain this beautiful service for years to come.
Watch the Video Here:
00:20: Who This Video Is For
01:11: CareDoula Approach
01:25: Helicopter View
02:20: Main Foundation Piece
03:10: Multi-system Care
04:10: 3 Keys Named
05:35: Key# 1 Explained
07:00: Strategy for Key 1
08:28: Main Reason for Insecurity
09:10: All of You
10:46: Stay in Your Hula Hoop
12:15: Back it Up
13:45: Key #2
14:10: Anticipatory Grief
15:39: Presence of Suffering
17:02: Your Biggest Job
18:00: Reason for Radical Self Care
18:50: Personal Awareness First
20:00: Strategy for Key 2
21:00: Key 3
23:08: COVID-19 & Silver Tsunami
24:05: 'Inner' Teacher