End of Life Guide / Doula

Accompanying people at the end of their life

Doulas feel passionately about the need to ensure that we are all supported at the end of life; that we are able to choose the way we end our final period of our life. Doulas are known by many names; end of life carer, death doulas or even end of life doula.  They are there to accompany people who know their life is soon to come to an end.

Many doulas have a background in nursing or some form of health care. They are genuinely compassionate and have great empathy in what they do supporting people to live full lives and have a good death.

What is an End of Life Doula?
End of Life Doulas aim is to reduce peoples fear about death, enable them to be more practically and emotionally prepared for it and improve the quality of experience of dying, which leaves a lasting impression on those left behind.

An End of Life Doula will try to hold calm with the family and people important to the dying person: a friend in death: a non-medical 'expert companion' to families who are caring for, and facing the death of, someone close to them.  If needed they can liaise with professionals, and inform people of possibilities and resources.

Ultimately their aim is to restore death and dying to its rightful place, as a human event not a medical one.

Are End of Life Doulas qualified?

Doulas undergo training in NSW and Victoria and there is currently a move to recognize them nationally.

How do they support you?

The support you meed to receive will be determined by your needs. This may be emotional, practical, and/or spiritual. It may be liaising with health professionals on your behalf, supporting your family or friends, talking through how you are feeling or helping you think through how you want the end of your life to be and how you want to live the rest of your life as fully as you can. It could be helping you to have those difficult conversations with friends and family, finding ways of getting you the resources you need (financial, equipment, care, information etc), supporting you or your family to arrange a funeral ceremony. Or, just being your companion. Of course the support you need may change over time. 

I have been told that I have a terminal illness, but am not sure if I need an End of Life Doula ?

Anyone can benefit from having a Doula during this difficult time, especially as the support provided is tailored to whatever you need at the time. However, if you are not sure then a doula will be more than happy to speak to you without any obligation to take this any further. This could be on the phone or in person.

I already have a palliative care nurse/doctor/social worker, why do I need an End of Life Doula ?

A Doula is not a nursing or medical practitioner but is an informed companion who will understand how the health and care system works and what is available for people who are approaching end of life. You may ask your doula to liaise with the professionals on your behalf, accompanying you to appointments, advocating for you, helping you think through what you want from those services.

At what stage/when can I contact someone to be my Doula?

At any stage you like. Whether you have just been diagnosed with a terminal condition and may have years left to live, or if you have only months, weeks or days left. The support you will receive will be adaptted to your current and future needs. It may be that you just need someone to talk to at this stage and things develop at a later stage so that you require more practical as well as emotional support. When we meet we will together consider what kind of support you would benefit from and put together an agreement of what we can expect of each other.

What would you charge to be my Doula?

Most doulas will not charge anything to come and talk to you in the first place.

After that an appropriate fee to the kind of support you need and can afford will be arranged. It may be that you pay a small monthly fee if you want support over several months, it may be that an hourly rate is more appropriate, which would vary depending on the type of support you want from me. 

I do not have a terminal condition but would like to find out more about Doulas and End of Life support.
Doulas will be more than happy to talk to you at any time about End of Life Doulas and the support they provide. 

About Helen Roberts

End of Life Guide

An end of life guide provides non-medical support for people during the end of life process, much like the support that a midwife or doula provides at the beginning of life. The
role recognises death as a natural transition, to be honoured as part of life. 

Helen provides the following services.

  • Facilitate discussions about end of life care and choices for healthy people as well as those at end of life.
  • Education
  • Offer support with legal documentation
  • - Wills
  • - Advance Care Directives
  • - Enduring power of attorneys
  • Liaising with GPS and community services
  • Support and presence
  • Funeral planning, traditional and eco friendly
  • Emotional and practical support
  • Vigil support during the active dying phase and follow up support for loved ones
  • Home death care and home funerals
  • Follow up bereavement support

As an experienced photographer Helen can also provide photographic services for all aspects of care.

Feel free to call or sms Helen to find out how she can assist you.
Helen Roberts
M: 0412 117 560
FB: @helenendoflifeguide