as a Palliative Care and End-of-Life Doula (non-medical)
As a palliative care and end-of-life doula (EOLD), I accompany people with life-threatening illness, and their loved ones, during the times of transition, before or during the last weeks or months of life. I serve to support them emotionally and spiritually, with love, companionship, and caring. (An end-of-life doula does not provide health care or medical services.)
Companionship: Can include playing cards and games, chatting over a cup of coffee, reading books, going for walks or wheelchair rides, listening to music or watching a movie, or just sitting quietly in presence. The possibilities are endless, always directed by the client or caregiver.
Caregiver Relief: Can stay with clients for a few hours, allowing caregivers time to do things they need to do such as run errands, to take a break, and to care for themselves.
Life Review: Work closely with clients and families to create a lasting keepsake which captures the life story of the dying person using the dying person’s words. A life review can be personalized by creating oral recordings, selecting meaningful music, gathering family photos or writing a collection of stories which can be presented in many creative ways.
I provide both biography and values questions for the client and loved ones, as well as topics that visitors might consider as they share their memories. As a graphic designer, artist, and writer/editor, I can help put together a personal and meaningful legacy project or obituary.
Vigil Planning: Guides the client through a series of questions to facilitate choices and a directive regarding the setting while the client is in active dying stage.
Active Vigil: Provides a constant, caring presence to people who are actively dying and their loved ones. The presence of an EOLD during vigil allows family members to rest, knowing their loved one is not alone.
Life celebration ceremonies and gatherings, custom designed, before or after the dying person leaves the physical body. This can include assistance in coordination of the event, offering meaningful readings, organization and facilitation of speakers and music, and/or whatever is chosen by the client and loved ones.
Advance Directives: Assist in the development of recording choices for future health care, with access to State of Wisconsin legal forms.
The seed was planted to do this work when my mother was dying in 1989, and it was really started to bloom at my dad’s death in 2014. Upon my retirement from a 9-5/M-F job in early 2016, I became liberated to commit my time as an EOLD. I have been a trained volunteer with local non-profit hospices since then.
I have trained with, have received a certificate from, and am a member of International End-of-Life Doula Association (INELDA). Have trained with and have a professional certificate from the University of Vermont. I am a member of National End-of-Live Doula Alliance (NEDA). I am an ordained, nondenominational minister.
I offer palliative care and end-of-life doula service to people in my geographic area, independent of any hospice service, to those who may or may not be receiving comfort care in a hospice setting. (Often an EOLD can provide a broader scope than hospice can.)
Click here to read my essay about "The seed of my calling to serve as end-of-life doula."
Please contact me to learn more, and to see if this can serve a need for you and your loved ones.
For other EOLDs, click here for my PDF of life review questions.
Asking a question is just a starting point. For me the goal is simply to get the client talking about the important things in life, about their thoughts and feelings. I use my phone to record the conversation(s) so that neither of us is distracted by me taking notes, and I can get the client's words verbatim without any interpretation or perception on my part. I then transcribe the conversation(s) on to a document. On rare occasions there are some parts of the conversation(s) that I edit out because they may be too sensitive for the reader.