End of Life Caregiver (Death Doula)
An End-of-Life Caregiver (doula) is a non-medical person that provides companionship, comfort, and guidance to support the dying. Death is something we all have in common. A “Death Doula” is there to ensure dignity in death and help transition that person through the last breath.
At the young age of 49, Karen's mother lost her battle to cancer. Karen was deeply moved by the love and kindness given to her mom from Hospice. It was then that Karen became a Hospice volunteer. More recently she completed training as a "Death Doula" with the International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA). A death doula - also known as an end-of-life caregiver, death midwife, or death coach - assists a dying person and their loved ones before, during and after death. Working together with healthcare providers, they are the dying person's advocate.
Karen blends together decades of healing modalities including Shamanic energy work, working on chronic health challenges, heart & breath centered tools, guided visualization & mindfulness techniques, creating scrapbooks from the heart, organizing end of life paperwork, and more. She offers a full spectrum of services to honor patients at the end of their lives as well as support their family and caregivers as a death companion.
Let's talk death...
Death is uncomfortable. Death is denied, ignored, and feared in our culture. Yet, death is something we all have in common.
Maybe you have recently lost a loved one, a pet, or need support navigating your grief process.
Maybe you are currently going through the loss of a loved one and want to give them a graceful transition.
Maybe you are in the "shock phase" receiving your own prognosis and need support in the dying process.
Maybe be you lost someone suddenly and want to create a "Legacy Project" to remember them.
Unfortunately, many hospices are inadequately staffed, and it can take several weeks before your loved one is admitted. An End-of-Life companion helps bridge the gap that healthcare, hospitals, and loved ones can't provide.
Most people are not afraid of death, they are just unfamiliar with it. Working with a Death Doula can help educate, guide, inform, and openly discuss the deeper conversation of death with you and your loved ones. They are a great resource for anyone at the end stages of life or interested in death pre-planning. An End-of-Life companion is there to support - physical comfort, mental & emotional needs, spiritual needs, and practical tasks - during the dying process so that it is as gentle and peaceful as possible. No one needs to do this alone.
This free, 30-minute meeting is the first step in getting to know you, the dying person's wishes, how they want to be cared for up to their last breath, and help the family re-process after the loss.
Typically, we will meet once a week for 75-90 min for 4-6 weeks. Services are specific to each situation and can be a mix of the following:
Provide a safe space to talk openly and honestly about the dying process and to confront their own grief.
Coordination of care and alone time with the patient for family and friends.
Create guided meditations and rituals specific to the dying person's faith or spirituality.
End-of-Life preferences including funeral, legal, medical, and legacy choices.
Exploring a person's life and legacy as an opportunity to be an active participant in the dying process.
Sit vigil with the dying person as they near their final moments of transition.
Planning funeral or post-death services and assist with obituaries.
Provide post-death companionship to the family and caregivers to express their losses.
Directives & Documents
For many people, being prepared and having everything in place for when they die is very important. We will go in-depth into your personal wishes and end-of-life choices such as living wills, do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders, organ donation, and healthcare power of attorneys. Together, we will go over all the logistics and develop a personalized plan which is meant to protect you if you can't speak for yourself.
Life Review & Vigil Planning
Coming to terms with imminent death is extremely difficult, so a Life Review, or Life Reconciliation, is a way to express intense emotions and find closure. We will also have conversations about your end-of-life desires (how the environment looks, feels, sounds, and smells), exploring the meaning of your life, and the legacy you want to leave behind can be difficult. We will discuss what your vision and goals are to celebrate your time on earth and write your vigil plan so that you feel empowered and in control during the final stages of the dying process. When death is imminent, we will initiate your vigil plan as directed.
Living Memorial Ceremony
Death should be celebrated not feared. A "mock funeral" offers a mindful way to confront your own mortality while gaining acceptance and understanding of your life. This is an incredible opportunity to explore emotions as well as spiritual and physical experiences while still on earth. This includes a transitional death meditation (journey of illumination) using yoga nidra as its basis which walks you through the full process of transition.
Legacy or Remembrance Project
A Legacy Project is a practical, physical memorial that celebrates your personal journey and serves as a connection with you after death for your loved ones. Together, we will explore the most meaningful moments of your life to find the best way to develop this memorial project which can then be brought to life. Sometimes this is putting together scrapbooks, writing letters, making phone calls, creating artistic pieces, recording voice or video messages, creating scholarships, etc. Every situation is unique.
The decision to hire an end-of-life caregiver is a very personal decision, one that should be discussed with you and your family.
Karen's hope is to provide all the necessary help along the way to process grief and make the act of dying as personal and gentle as possible.
Every person is unique, so fees & rates are determined
on a case by case basis.
“You don't die twice. We only get one chance to do this.”
– Anne O'Neill