The Times Australia

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The Times


How Death Doulas Help Ease the Final Transition

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To many people, the term “doula” is attributed to a person providing assistance during childbirth. However, a distinction can be made between a birth doula and a death doula. The former leads women throughout pregnancy and childbirth while the latter supports individuals at the end of their life. There are many names referring to this role, such as “end-of-life doula”, “death coach”, “death midwife”, “soul midwife”, or a “transition guide”. Regardless of the name, they all have the same goal, which is to take care of the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of someone nearing death. Here, you’ll find out everything you need to know about death doulas and how they can guide people through life’s final transition.

What is a death doula?

Similar to birth doulas that provide support during childbirth, death doulas help people come to terms with their imminent death and make any needed preparations. By providing their time, assistance, and helping with non-medical tasks, death doulas help fill the gap between family caregivers and medical care professionals. Even though this practice isn’t a new notion, there seems to be a growing number of end-of-life doulas, as people are gaining awareness of this movement. For instance, there’s even the Doula College in Australia. Although there’s no governing body for death doulas, the demand for a reliable death doula in Australia is on the rise, since more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of helping people during the final transition in life.

How end-of-life doulas help patients and their families

Today, the topic of death is still considered a taboo topic that no one really wants to talk about. However, when someone becomes sick, members of their family tend to be emotionally unprepared for having conversations regarding their end-of-life wishes. Death doulas step into these situations with compassion, ensuring that family members have an open conversation on this topic, which further helps the dying individual find peace and provides the whole family with a sense of closure. In addition to providing the patient with emotional and physical support, a death doula can perform many different tasks, such as handling the will, collecting online passwords, and dealing with listing accounts. By taking on some of the burdens, death doulas help families spend more time with their loved ones.

How to choose an end-of-life doula

In terms of picking a death doula, it’s essential that they are trustworthy and comfortable to be around. You should look for someone who you feel safe confiding in and someone who’s ready to face the challenges of this deeply personal process.

How to become a death doula

Becoming a death doula can be a profoundly rewarding experience, as you become aware of your endurance of something that the majority of people are running away from. If you’re interested in providing support to people at the end of their lives, you can join a course and earn a certification. While each doula program is different in training coursework, they all offer the same education in terms of guiding you toward becoming a trustworthy death doula.

Who can become a death coach?

Although anyone can train to become an end-of-life doula, you need to understand that this career comes with certain mental and emotional demands. Even though this line of work has its benefits, it can be very demanding as well, especially for those coming unprepared for the level of intensity when experiencing death closely. You should think about a few things before joining a particular program, like talking to other people with this job and looking into death studies. There aren’t any necessary requirements when joining a program; therefore, if you’re passionate about taking care of others and listening to them, you will be given the necessary tools to improve your skills as a death doula.

While death provokes negative emotions like sadness and loss, it can also bring positive feelings such as love, honor, and pride. End-of-life doulas help you and your loved ones become aware of these contradictory emotions. They guide your loved ones through their final moments, by giving them comfort in this life’s final transition.


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