Providing the missing piece
“70% of people would like to die in their homes, but only 17% do.”
Doulas are not a new idea. In indigenous cultures around the globe, and for thousands of years, people have stayed in their homes to die, looked after by their family and local community. In the western world, this concept has been undermined by a gradual shift towards hospitalisation, taking responsibility away from the person and those around them. However it’s possible to make death an intimate, spiritual and peaceful experience for everyone involved, whether medical support is required or not.
Doulas are trained in supporting people at the beginning (birth doulas) and end of life. ‘End of Life Doulas’ walk alongside the individual, their family and their community as an informed companion. They are sensitive to practical, emotional and spiritual needs and are a consistent and compassionate presence, with knowledge, experience and understanding. Their role is to preserve the quality of wellbeing, sense of identity and self-worth from the moment of diagnosis. They do not replace medical care, but facilitate access to resources that are available and also recognise the frequently intangible elements of life that can have a major impact on the family as they strive to maintain the best quality of life possible.
We know that taking care of someone at home is a big decision for a family. We know too that the end of life can be a lonely experience for those who are alone, in nursing homes or even in hospital. Our aim is to support people to live their life as meaningfully as possible right to the end, while making it more comfortable and natural for them to die at home if they want to.