Death Doula FAQs
1. What is a Death Doula?
A Death Doula (End-of-Life Doula, Death Midwife) is a non-medical and holistic practitioner who guides individuals and their families through the dying process by way of presence, support, advocacy, education, and companionship. Just as birth doulas support mothers birthing a new life, a death doula supports individuals transitioning from this life.
2. Why Would I Need a Death Doula?
Death Doulas are a calming and reassuring presence with knowledge of the death process, and a compassionate resource for families who may be overwhelmed and grieving at the impending death of their loved one. Death Doulas offer a variety of services to assist in the transition of dying, but are first and foremost a grounding, reliable, knowledgable and comforting presence during a most emotional and intimate time.
3. How are Death Doula's Different from Hospice?
We highly recommend every individual and family facing a terminal illness and end of life to call their local hospice as soon as possible. Though Death Doula services do not replace hospice's medical team of nursing and physician care, we complement hospice teams seamlessly. We offer more time, more personalized attention, more continuity at bedside, more advocacy, and more availability beyond what hospice is normally able to provide due to Medicare guidelines.
Our extensive training exceeds what hospice volunteer programs provide, as trained Death Doula's have faced, in depth, our fears and emotions around death. We are trained and practiced to be with intense and difficult emotions. Our full-time presence and companionship at vigil and at death, our advocacy in hospitals or at home, our coaching to customize end-of-life care plans for spiritual, physical, practical and life review needs, and most of all, our consistent relationships with our clients are not a service offered anywhere else.
4. When Should I Contact a Death Doula?
Death Doulas can be contacted at any time during the end of life process. The sooner the doula can enter into the process, the more time can be spent getting to know the individual and family, creating quality care plans, prioritizing end of life needs, and creating sacred space and meaning for the individual and family.
5. Do You Accept Insurance or Medicare?
Death Doulas are not eligible to bill Medicare or insurance. The benefit of this dynamic is that we are not constrained by bureaucracy in the care we provide.
6. What are Your Death Doula Rates?
Some do, some do not. Some operate as donation only, some have a specific pay structure like packages or hourly rates based on the specific services provided, some have a sliding scale. Regardless, this part of the client-doula relationship should be clearly communicated and established from the beginning.
7. Are Your Services Associated with a
Religion or Spiritual Tradition?
Our services ARE NOT associated with any religion or spiritual practice. Our role is to support you through your own personal journey and relationship with death, and to provide a sense of dignity no matter what your race, religion/spiritual practice, lack of religion/spiritual practice, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, or ability. Our services are relevant and available to ALL.
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