Over the last 4 days I have received calls and messages from people saying they’ve recently had a loved one die.
These messages and phone calls consist of “I wish I knew about an end of life doula before this all began.” “I wasn’t sure how to recommend your services and how you can help.”
The last call went something like this: “Well, the doctors are too busy to make a referral to hospice right now, I didn’t want to be a burden.”
THIS HAS TO STOP! Our friends, our family, our loved ones deserve better than the phone calls and messages I’ve been receiving.
Stop thinking it’s not your place to recommend services that can help when someone is dying like an end of life doula and hospice. My heart is breaking because end of life doulas and hospice are NOT being utilized enough.
Here’s a list of 10 ways death doulas can help at the end of life
1. Evaluation of the gaps that need to be filled when someone is seriously ill or dying. We gently enter these conversations with the person who is living with an illness and/or their family members to see what gaps we can fill (there’s often a LOT). Our healthcare system is not a death-care system. Hospice is wonderful, but there are often still gaps that we complement and help fill when we work with any hospice that you choose. We’ve NEVER had a bad experience working alongside hospice with a client.
2. Sit in silence, be present, and have absolutely no interruptions because we don’t have a list of other clients we have to see all day.
3. Advocate on behalf of the person living with a serious illness to make sure they are getting everything they need to have the death they WANT. It’s your life, it’s your process, and we will advocate until we’re blue in the face to make sure you’re getting the help and support you need.
4. We’re NOT part of the medical system, we’re not just another person coming into your life to tell you how to die or not address the pain and suffering you might be going through. We’re here to listen and support you and your loved ones.
5. We can help with pretty much all logistical stuff that needs to get done when someone is dying. We can help fill out your advance directive, end of life plan, write an obituary, help you choose the music you want at your funeral, give you resources to other vetted providers and services, gather all important documents and securing them in one place (will, trust, directives, life insurance policy, POLST, passwords to accounts, etc.).
6. Respite relief for family and friends that need some time to themselves to rest, sleep, eat, tend to things that they need to get done. We are trained and have PPE (personal protective equipment) to keep you and everyone safe.
7. Create a bedside vigil plan. What exactly do you want when you’re dying? Do you want people around you? Do you want your dog or cat lying beside you on your bed? Do you want us to help make sure someone that you don’t want there cannot enter the room? Do you want candles, a window open, music, poems being read to you, the smell of your favorite flowers? We all have the right to create a death plan, just like mother’s get to create a birth plan. It doesn’t mean everything will go according to plan exactly, but we make sure to do our very best to make sure your requests are being respected.
8. We help your family and loved ones. Oftentimes loved ones feel inadequate or helpless when watching a loved one in pain and suffering. This is where we come in and help. We guide, offer suggestions, but most importantly we listen with no judgement and no interruptions.
9. We can help with those hard “last” conversations or things that people want to say to one another before death. Sometimes it can literally take 1 sentence to help someone that is in pain and suffering during the dying process to hear or say something so heartfelt and important. We have seen this happen and then they die peacefully. I just witnessed this a few weeks ago
10. We can help with a legacy project or life review. This last form of help is the one thing that is the MOST OVERLOOKED. Life review and talking about memories or the past can help someone as they’re dying or living with an illness that causes much suffering. Most important we can capture these moments on video.
The list can go on and on! Many people avoid reaching out to us or hospice because we’re “outsiders,” but sometimes having someone that’s not part of the family or friendship circle can be the best way to help move things in a forward momentum. This then can help and ease pain, suffering, and discomfort.
**We can offer support via Zoom, Skype and Phone at this time during Covid-19. We have limited PPE, and can be with people dying at home.
CONTACT US TODAY
CALL US AT 503-863-0596
EMAIL AT: INFO@BRIDGESNW.COM