Here are typical questions about end-of-life doulas.
Do you have a question not listed here? I'm happy to answer it ... just contact me by phone or email.
Why does a doula care about the end of life?
It’s in your best interest to consider how you want the end of your life to proceed while you still are able to do that. You get peace of mind. Your family doesn’t have to second-guess your intentions if they are left making decisions for you. And doctors know how to suggest the medical care that best fits your wishes.
What are Advance Directives?
Advance Directives are the documents that tell your family and your doctors your personal choices ... things like what medical procedures you want, or if you want to be fed through tubes, or if you want your life to be prolonged no matter what it takes. In Pennsylvania, a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care serve this purpose. Be sure to have the correct documents in place for every state where you spend a lot of time!
Do I also need a "Last Will"?
This is a question for legal counsel. Your lawyer can help with estate planning and arrangements for distributing your assets.
Can a doula take care of my funeral?
That's the job of a Funeral Director. A doula can help you and your family understand all the options on the General Price List of each funeral home in your area, and can even go with you to visit funeral homes while you are deciding.
Do I need a doula if I have family to help me?
These days, more family members are working, and fewer families still live close together. So gaps between your needs and what you can count on from family might be filled by a doula. We also support family members: we help them organize who-does-what-and-when, focus on the needs of the dying person, and ensure that their needs are met, too, whether they are traveling from a great distance or need a snack themselves.
What is a "green" funeral?
Traditional embalming methods and caskets involve strong chemicals and use up a lot of wood and metal. Many people prefer a more sustainable way to handle the body after death. Embalming is an option, not a requirement; refrigeration alone can usually sustain the condition of a body until relatives have a chance to say their goodbyes. The choice of casket or coffin, or even only a shroud, can be as plain or as fancy as you wish. And coffins can be biodegradable!
Does a doula know about having a funeral at home?
Yes. Only since the Civil War has death been so removed from our homes and our lives. It used to be a very personal, family event. Many people these days want to stay very close to their loved ones after death. And it's legal in every state to have your loved one's body at home.
Does a doula only deal with death?
Doulas also help people celebrate their life! How do you want to review and share your life: do you want to express it in words or in pictures, or have a gathering of friends and family? You can engage a doula's help to create your photo collection, or make a video to share what means the most to you, or to write an “ethical will” to transmit your beliefs, values, life learnings, and future hopes.
Do you need a license to be a doula?
Licensing is not required. Careful selection is! To select your doula, you rely on her training and certification, along with your personal experience of her professional way of presenting herself and doing business.
Can I rely on a doula's advice?
As a doula, my role is not to give advice. Rather than tell you what to do, I am prepared to help you discover what's most important to you and what's the best path for you to achieve that. And then support you in carrying out your chosen action steps.
DISCLAIMER: Doula services are intended to educate and to coach. They do not replace the services of medical practitioners, attorneys, mental health professionals, hospice providers, funeral directors, and others with whom the client is encouraged to consult directly for their expertise.