What is a Doula?
Many people associate Doula’s with assisting the mother at birth. Indeed, the term Doula means to assist and support and comes from the Greek where its original meaning was also slave. At Soul Companions, Doulas receive training to support people at the End of Life. They are not replacing the highly skilled professionals but support the family and patient to enable the dying person to die where they have chosen to be. For over 70% of people this is their home. Sadly, despite peoples wishes to die at home, heath statistic informs us that less than 20% do so. A family or patient working with a Doula is less likely to have to leave their home due to the support, care, comfort and understanding being offered. They are truly a soul companion to those facing death, but they are also companions for the grieving family left behind as their final farewell is made.
We know taking care of someone who is dying, no matter how much they are loved, and probably because they are loved so much is harrowing, fraught with uncertainty, emotionally disturbing and mentally and physically exhausting. A doula can help ease this by providing guidance on how best to prepare for death, how to understand the signs of imminent death and offer support and traditional rituals that can ease the tension of death. For “How people die lives in the memory of those who live on” Dame Cecily Saunders.
The Soul companion works to:
1. Recognise the individual needs of the dying person and their family and creates an atmosphere where they feel dignified, loved and supported.
2. Acknowledge, respect and honour a dying person’s beliefs and practices.
3. Provide comfort, compassion, continuous support and reassurance in helping a dying person to experience the death he or she wants (within legal bounds).
4. Guide and support a dying person to facilitate, in a non-medical way, a peaceful death and final farewell.
5. Keep a loving vigil and support those also keeping vigil by creating and holding a sacred and healing energy space for the dying person.
6. Provide gentle therapeutic techniques to alleviate anxiety and tension, applying an attentive manner and calm understanding, acting as a companion to the soul, working with spirit, especially during the stage of soul transition.
7. Help the dying person and their family on this journey by allowing the natural course of life and having courage to let things simply be.
End of Life Care
At Soul Companions our training courses are prepared and delivered to ensure all participants reach their potential to enable them to take this journey with those who are dying.