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What is an End of Life Doula?

Submitted by Sue Rollins, licensed Pastoral Care Leader

Doulas are the bookends of life - Just as a Birth Doula is there at the beginning, an End of Life Doula is there for the end. An End of Life Doula is there to support a person, and those important to them, in the last weeks or months before the end of a person’s life. The goal is for the last months or weeks or days to be compassionate, calm, natural, and as normal as can be. Support is provided for those with terminal diagnosis, the elderly, and those living with dementia too. We work in the person’s home as well as Hospices, Hospitals and Care Homes. An End of Life Doula fills a non-medical role to preserve the quality of well-being, sense of identity, and self-worth. We are sensitive to practical, emotional, and spiritual needs. We are a consistent and compassionate presence with knowledge, experience, and understanding. This supports those that we are alongside to exercise choice about where and how they are cared for. We facilitate an end of life that is as peaceful, graceful, meaningful, and dignified as it can be.

The End of Life Doula can also be an educational resource for individuals and families who wish to prepare for their end of life. Do those closest to you know what is important to you as you reach the end of your life? Have you talked with them and written down your wishes? Do you have an advance directive, living will, and/or health care proxy? Waiting to create these documents because “I’m not that old” isn’t recommended. Sometimes, our plans for the length of our lives and the reality don’t match up. What do you want your legacy to look like? How can you contribute to it now? We can help here too.

Would you, your parish, or your community benefit from a presentation about answering some of these questions? If so, I would like to hear from you. I am a licensed Pastoral Care Leader in our diocese and see this as a part of my ongoing ministry. If you have questions or would like to schedule a meeting feel free to contact me at .


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