Death Doula's, "just like birth doulas, use their emotional support to bring life into this world", but death doulas assist in the dying.
"The work of a death doula is something one feels called to, she says, deep in one’s soul, and many death doulas have been assisting people who are grieving or terminally ill long before they even recognised the gifts they have to offer.Usually, you will find death doulas began their journey as grief counsellors, members of a church or temple, social workers, healers or life coaches".
Varsha Sukhu, Death Doula, "believes that death doulas can provide a sense of comfort, kindness and peace that often go beyond counseling and coaching, they have witnessed death, heard many grief stories and have tons of compassion for those on their deathbeds, those coming to terms with a terminal illness and bereaved family members".
Do not wait until you, or a loved one, is nearing end of life to reach out to a Death Doula. We have so much to offer, regardless of where you are in your life journey.
I too, was unsure of the title "Strengthening the business case for a better way to die"....... yikes. This sounds so clinical and business-like. However, this article states "Many Americans die in hospitals or some type of nursing facility, where staff is more attuned to keeping people alive than giving them a peaceful death". When one is near the end of life, most dying do not want to be kept alive, they do, however, would like to die in a peaceful atmosphere, where loved ones are near and the environment is calm and peaceful.
Hopewell House, in Portland, was an inpatient hospice home, but "changes to Medicare and Medicaid had made it harder for physicians to justify inpatient hospice such as the kind facilities like Hopewell House provided." Eventually Hopewell House, and other similar residential hospitals, had to close its door due to financial reasons.
Luckily, there is a movement where these kind of facilities are looking to the subtle change from being deemed a hospital to being deemed as a residential care facility. People familiar with these organizations feel these changes create a space "where everyone from the caregivers to the housekeepers is attuned to the fact that their patients are dying", and this is a very sacred moment that often gets lost in a hospital setting.
Form more information, click on the bottom below.
What was the inspiration for End-of-Life University?
As a former hospice medical director, Dr. Wyatt spent most of her career focusing on the challenging times of life. She understands what it’s like to deal with life-limiting illness and what it takes to meet those challenges face-to-face and still find meaning, joy and love in life. She started End-of-Life University because there is a desperate need for education in our society about all aspects of the end of life, from the importance of advance directives, to care options for the dying, funeral and burial alternatives, and grief and bereavement assistance for loved ones. She wants to improve the way we care for the dying in our society, decrease the fear of death and help people live fully even in the midst of suffering.
Tell us more about EOL U:
End-of-Life University provides multiple access points for educational resources about death and dying that can reach all interested members of our society--from lay people to professionals, youth to elders--through interviews, articles, podcasts, books, videos, and teleseminars. In addition, EOLU serves as an information hub where providers in one discipline of care can connect with other workers in their own field or learn about current practices in other areas of end-of-life care.What are the many benefits EOLU offers?
What would you like others to know about EOL U?
The entire movement to improve care at the end of life grows stronger when we can network and build bonds between us. End-of-Life University is committed to collaboration, connection, and co-creating with all who are working toward this shared goal.
In your experience, what keeps people from using your organization and talking about death, dying and grief?
Most people avoid talking about death, dying and grief because of their fear of the unknown. Since our society shields us from exposure to normal and universal experiences of death as part of life, we don’t have the opportunity to develop a comfort level with the subject, which causes great harm. Even one simple conversation about death can begin to open a person’s heart and mind to be more receptive and less fearful about the end of life.
Please tell us more about your own story with death and dying:
My own exploration of death and dying occurred after the tragic suicide death of my father many years ago. From the depths of my grief I decided to become a hospice volunteer and pursued that work for most of my medical career. There I learned the spiritual lessons I needed in order to heal my grief and also to begin living life in a new way: fully present to each moment and able to love, forgive, and “go with the flow” through all of life’s challenges. I’ve been deeply inspired to share this wisdom through my books and podcasts in hopes that others will be blessed by it as well.
Transformational Teaching with Dr. Karen Wyatt - Spiritual MD
"DEAR ABBY: My mother died two years ago. Both of my parents traveled extensively before their declining health prevented it. They purchased a prepaid cremation package that included shipping the cremains back to their home. My mother was cremated, but we had to wait more than six weeks for her cremains so we could have a funeral. Waiting for the funeral devastated my dad. While he was able to communicate and make decisions, he stated that he did not want to be cremated. So I took Dad to a funeral home and selected a funeral package that included a traditional burial, and called to cancel the cremation package. My sibling, who is the power of attorney, talked him out of it and reactivated the package!"
What a story.....although it not necessarily an uncommon story. How many times have you heard of family members fighting because the wishes of the dying were not clear to everyone involved?
It is important to realize that when completing an Advance Directive (AD) and picking A Health Care Advocate (HCA), its invaluable to have loved ones know and understand what the dying's wishes are. This helps to avoid confusion and animosity among people that are meaningful to the dying.
Please do not quickly complete AD and HCA. Take your time, work with a skilled advocate, be thoughtful about wishes and share this information with loved ones.
"The initial concept of the book was to give JJ something tangible to have once he died, Thomas said".
"Thomas hoped the book bared a legacy and gave JJ “a more persistent sense that he was loved and cared about”.
What a beautiful gift Thomas is leaving for JJ.
Don't we all want to leave some kind of legacy (no, I am not talking about money) with our loved ones. Start planning what important and meaningful gifts you can share with others so that they can remain connected to you, even after you die.
"In 2020, one third of all Canadians (34%) said they had broached subjects surrounding end-of-life planning such as making or updating their will, deciding on their end-of-life wishes, and estate planning. More than a third (37%) said getting their end-of-life affairs in order – including updating or writing a will, funeral planning, and having tough family discussions around estate planning – will be a priority for them this year".
So interesting that 1/3 of Canadians have talked about End of Life subjects. I do not have current statistics for Americans, but we do know that America is a largely death, and grief phobic, society. Most Americans do not see the need to have such conversations, but if Covid has helped us understand end of life, it has brought to the forefront the importance of having such conversations.
“The needs and expectations of Canadians are changing when it comes to planning for end-of-life – but it's important not only to think about one's final wishes, but to ensure they are known and understood.”
Another important point is that even if you have planned for most aspects at end of life, it is imperative that loved ones know, and understand, what your wishes are. If they do not, there will not be anyone to advocate for you when you most need it.
Please take the opportunity to get your "affairs in order".
"Just as birth doulas help expectant parents bring new life into the world, end-of-life doulas help the dying cope with their next journey. They help the dying and their survivors face death with empowerment and affirmation instead of fear and anxiety".
In the 1970's people were just beginning to hear about "birth doulas". At the time, people were wary and confused as to what a birth doula was. As the years have passed, birth doulas are more common place, especially for the pregnant women that want to be comforted in the body, mind and soul aspects when giving birth.
Death Doulas, or End of Life Doula's, are somewhat new, however this kind of service is gaining traction for those individuals and families that want to experience the living, dying and death in a deeper and more profound way.
If you are interested in getting more information, please reach out.
"The 124 nurses from the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association who responded to an online survey said patients are often more consumed with worries about how their families will fare after their deaths than they are with their own fates".
Have you taken the time to enrich your relations with loved ones? Please do not wait until someone is sick to repair and reinvest in these relationships. Take the time to openly discuss what fears and hopes you have as a family, especially after a loved one dies. These conversations are imperative to have now, regardless of health, as we do not know what the future holds.
I met the creators of The Death Deck several years ago, and have truly enjoyed getting to know them. These ladies have created a much needed product that helps to gets people to talk about death and dying.
This deck of cards has all kinds of End of Life subject matters, and it is a comfortable way to get families and friends to start having these kind of important conversations.
Below is a conversation I had with the creators of The Death Deck, Lori LoCicero and Lisa Pahl.
o How would you describe The Death Deck?
The Death Deck is a game that can be used as either an icebreaker or a tool to get people talking about the topic of death and dying. The mix of both lighthearted and serious questions work in a variety of settings to spark thought-provoking conversation about what many consider to be a difficult or scary subject.
o What was, or is, the inspiration for creating The Death Deck?
Lisa was the hospice social worker for Lori’s late husband Joe. While Lori and Joe were more prepared on paper than most people in their 40’s, there were very few conversations about their end of life wishes. Because of this, Lori felt unprepared for what Joe would want in his final days and following his death. The Death Deck is the game that Lori wishes she could have played with Joe.
o What benefit(s) does The Death Deck card game offer?
The Death Deck is a great way to ease people into conversations about death and dying. We use multiple choice questions and a bit of humor to make diving into the topic easier. Because we offer a wide range of questions, the deck can be used for game nights, advance care planning conferences, death doula community engagements, and just about every setting.
o What would you like others to know about using The Death Deck card game?
We like to encourage anyone using The Death Deck to preview the questions before hosting your game night or event. “Stack the deck” by choosing the cards that you think are best for your audience. To play virtually during these times of COVID, put the questions in the chat box or take a pic of the cards ahead of time and share your screen.
o In your experience, what keeps people from using your product, and/or, talking about death, dying and grief?
As a culture, we typically shy away from conversations about death, dying and grief. We often take these topics to be very serious and hush hush. The Death Deck aims to normalize that these conversations can be lively, enriching, and connecting. Even in the depths of hard times, there is humor and connections to be found.
If you would like more information about The Death Deck, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The article is based on series of experiments that "compared the blog posts of terminally ill people and the last words of death row inmates to the words of healthy people asked to imagine themselves writing near their death".
"Research has found that old people, young people with serious diagnoses, and people living in uncertain political climates vastly prefer time with old friends and family over new contacts and experiences. The depth of these connections bring meaning to the final days of life in a way that can be hard for healthy people in an externally-focused, future-oriented mindset to comprehend".
This shows how important relationships are with those that are dying. If you are nearing the end of your life, or you have a friend or a loved that is, please take the time now to connect with people that bring meaning into your life.
There is no time better than the present......Start A Necessary Conversation.
As this article states....most people don't like to talk about death.......but guess what, death is not optional.
So, if death is not optional, and it's a 100% guaranteed, what are we going to do to examine and prepare for it?
Below are are some ideas this article examines on how to prepare for end of life:
1 . Don’t leave a mess 2. Clean out your emotional attic 3. Mend important relationships
4. Leave a markTake it from the two experts, BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger, that wrote this article. This advice follows A Necessary Conversations 3E's. Begin now to start making your plan and call an expert to help.