WHAT IS A DOULA?
Doula comes from the Greek language and means “a woman who provides guidance and support.” There are doulas who specialize in birth and others in death. They are called end of life or death doulas or death midwife / midwives.
Henry Fersko-Weiss, a licensed clinical social worker, created the first end of life doula program in the U.S. in 2003 to bridge the gap between hospice and medical professionals.
WHAT IS A VIGIL?
A vigil is a period of time at the end of life, typically 24-48 hours, when those around the dying remain awake to keep watch or pray.
WHAT IS HOSPICE?
Hospice is a type of and philosophy of care focusing on comfort, pain management, attention to spiritual and emotional needs of the dying and their family and caregivers.
IS A DOULA ONLY FOR THE VERY OLD OR VERY SICK?
End of life doulas may specialize in working with the elderly, but most doulas will work with clients of any age and medical status.
IS A DOULA RELIGIOUS?
Although they tend to the emotional and spiritual needs of the dying and their people, doulas do not require clients to subscribe to any of their own religious beliefs or rituals. Rather, a doula draws strength from their own practices in order to provide better support to their clients. Most doulas will support a client's choice to participate in religious practices and assist in obtaining support from that denomination if none currently exists for the client.
WHAT IS A HEALTHCARE PROXY OR POA?
A healthcare proxy, or agent, is also known as a healthcare power of attorney. This is the person chosen and legally identified in end of life documents as the person to speak on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so. They should be aware of your wishes and be able to make decisions in your best interest if your wishes are unknown. It is common to designate a primary and an alternate health care proxy.
ARE DOULAS A TYPE OF HEALER?
Many doulas are trained in various forms of healing, such as Reiki energy work, chakra balancing, massage, shamanic or native work. If these services interest a client, and a doula is not trained on these techniques, the doula can assist in locating practitioners in the client's community on their behalf.
WHO NEEDS A DOULA?
Anyone may work with a doula to plan their end of life care and document their wishes. There is not an age minimum or specific health status to be able to work with a doula. Many clients choose to take proactive steps to address their healthcare agent, financial plans, establish a will and instructions on what should be done with any business and personal property. A client may include a doula after a terminal diagnosis to facilitate a family meeting and offer support to the family as they receive this news.
IS A DOULA THE SAME AS HOSPICE?
Hospice is a medical status in which curative measures are no longer being pursued. Hospice is a form of medical treatment and involves administering medication, performing personal cares and transferring or repositioning a client. A doula provides non-medical, holistic support and comfort to the dying and their loved ones, and works on behalf of the client along side the hospice and caregiver team and focuses more on the "being" than the "doing".
CAN I PREPAY FOR SERVICES WHILE I HAVE THE FUNDS?
Yes. Discounted rates are often available when pre-paying blocks of service in advance.
WHAT TYPES OF PAYMENTS DO YOU ACCEPT?
Peaceful Life Reiki accepts all major credit cards, cash and PayPal
WHO PAYS FOR A DOULA?
Doula services are non-medical and therefore are not eligible for reimbursement through a Health Savings Account, Insurance or Medicaid. Doula services are paid as out of pocket expenses and are paid in advance or at the time of service.
HOW MUCH DOES A DOULA COST?
Across the U.S., end of life doula wages range from $20 - $100 per hour. Peaceful Life Reiki can provide you with an estimate for services after the initial consultation. Discounted rates may be negotiated for pre-paid blocks of time.
CAN I HIRE A DOULA FOR SOMEONE ELSE?
Yes. A free consultation is always the start to see if the doula is the right fit for the client. After this consult, anyone may gift prepaid hours to a loved one or friend.
WHEN DO YOU START WORKING WITH A DOULA?
People begin working with doulas at key milestones throughout life. Some begin when they receive a terminal diagnosis or are facing life-ending illness. Some choose to document their final wishes during mid-life before when they are still well and comfortable making these decisions. Others begin as a caregiver and bring in a doula to assist with a loved one or family member. If you are already facing a life-ending diagnosis, a doula can assist with completion of your vigil plan, making legacy projects and performing a life review, and after-death planning for a service, eulogy and obituary.
DO YOU HAVE TO USE A DOULA THE ENTIRE TIME YOU’RE ILL UNTIL YOU DIE?
Certainly not. You may remain in touch after your initial planning sessions and resume connection at any time. Those with robust support systems may not need doula services once plans have been established and wishes documented.
IS A DOULA DONE ONCE A PERSON DIES?
End of life doulas are trained to provide support before, during and after the dying process. There is comfort in continuing to receive support from someone who has been with you during the difficult end of life times.
IS THERE A BACKUP DOULA IN CASE YOU CAN’T BE THERE
Peaceful Life Reiki is part of the Conscious Dying Institute end of life doula family. While we cannot guarantee coverage, there are referrals available to other doulas to offer continuity of care.
ARE DOULAS LICENSED BY THE STATE?
As non-medical care providers, there is not a state specific licensing for end of life doulas. Many doula training programs exist across the U.S. Additionally, micro-certifications exist from agencies such as National End of Life Doula Alliance (NEDA) and doulas may participate in The International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA) which is a nonprofit organization providing additional training and resources. Many doulas come from a nursing or hospice background, or have been caregivers for loved ones who have passed.
WHAT IF I MOVE OR TRAVEL SEASONALLY?
Peaceful Life Reiki is located in Dunedin, FL - Tampa Bay Area, and is open to pre-arranged travel with clients. Please discuss any travel plans you have to determine the best way to accommodate your remote location needs. We can also put you in contact a Doula in your area.
MY PARENTS AND I LIVE IN DIFFERENT STATES. HOW CAN A DOULA PROVIDE ANY COHESIVE SERVICES?
Peaceful Life Reiki uses a combination of in-person, video, phone and email communication to provide robust coverage for families and loved ones living apart. The services can be tailored to provide a combination of in-person and remote technology to provide the amount of participation you desire in supporting you and your loved one. A doula offers added support and coverage where hospice and other care providers may be limited by time and scope of work.
Reiki Master ~ Nail Technician ~ CNA/End-of-Life Doula