The Dying in Grace End of Life Death Doulas are loving, compassionate, experienced professionals and hospice volunteers who completed additional training to become doulas. We have come together to assist anyone in befriending death and to introduce death back into the natural flow of the cycle of life. Though some of us are medical professionals, the work we do is not.
We base our practice and our approach on the Code of Ethics and Scope of Practice of INELDA (International End of Life Doula Association). In particular, we honor and follow INELDA’s discrimination policy:
- We will not discriminate against people based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, economic status, or other personal characteristics or life circumstances.
We work as a team of volunteers. We each bring unique gifts to those we serve. The range of services is tailored to the individual and is described in detail below. We appreciate donations when they are offered, however, our doula services are provided free of charge to members of the greater Santa Barbara community.
What is an end of life doula/death midwife?
An end of life doula/death midwife supports the dying person and the support network of family, loved ones, and friends, during the end of life process. These doulas provide the dying person with individualized care suited to physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs. An end of life doula is a non-medical supportive companion and guide to assist the dying person toward a more comfortable/conscious dying experience.
What services do we provide?
Dying in Grace End of Life Doulas provide the practical, emotional, and spiritual support and guidance to the dying and their families during the three stages of the dying process:
- BEFORE – life threatening illness and/or terminal diagnosis
- DURING – active dying and death
- AFTER – care of the body and funeral
The Dying in Grace End of Life Doulas can assist you at each stage in the following ways:
- Advanced Care Planning of End of Life Education and Preparation
- Complete advanced care directives
- Create a Death File
- Discuss end of life wishes with family
- Discuss funeral or after death wishes
- Plan for caregiving
- Create a Legacy Project
- Support after the life-limiting/terminal diagnosis
- Come to terms with the diagnosis and dealing with anticipatory grief
- Decide what treatment is reasonable for further “quality of life”
- Register with hospice/palliative care provider with complementary support
- Create a Vigil Plan
- Display POLST (Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment)
- Heal relationships/putting affairs in order
- Arrange for body to be at home, return to home if death is in hospital, hospice, residential facility and stay at home for viewing and/or home funeral
During Active Dying Stage
- Arrange visitations for final-farewells, vigil, and/or living celebration of life
- Guided visualizations, spiritual counseling, referrals to clergy, counselors, etc., for both individuals and family/friends
- Create planned vigil space
- Staff vigil with hospice/family/friends
- Support the comfort care provided by hospice or palliative team
- Immediate post-death
- Contact family/hospice/funeral home
- Support family at home with body preparation: laying the body in honor for viewing/creating beautiful space/alters/cool body for one to three days/ decorate casket
- One or two follow-visits with family to discuss vigil and death and complete legacy
- Assist in planning and execution of celebration of life
- Connect family with follow-up grief counseling available in community
Can you give me more to read about end of life doulas?
Here is an article from November, 2019 about end of life doulas:
“Death doulas guide the way for those who face the end of life”, by Chace Beech