HHA Death Doulas
Providing quality end-of-life care in a holistic, culturally sensitive manner
Home Hospice Association’s Death Doulas provide a holistic approach to non-medical, nonjudgmental, person-centered, quality end-of-life care, where dying is understood to be a natural, organic process.
As a team of professionally trained practitioners with diverse backgrounds and individual experiences in deathcare, our Death Doulas honour each individual's unique set of circumstances and beliefs. The emotional and spiritual support they provide helps clients make informed decisions about their end-of-life care.
In addition to emotional and spiritual support, Death Doulas provide individualized community resources and practical information to clients, primary caregivers, and those involved with the dying or recently deceased person, such as family and friends.
Close to the Time of Diagnosis
Death Doulas create a safe space for open and honest conversations about death, fears, and concerns. They actively listen, validate, and comfort their client to ease emotional distress. During this time...
They discuss the client’s options with them to determine their wishes and what they might expect during their unique experience.
HHA’s Death Doulas are specifically trained in inclusive care and are committed to supporting clients of all faiths, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities, and are aware of the importance of honouring a client's traditions throughout their journey.
Being supported by a Death Doula helps a client get and maintain control of the decisions they make about their life and death. Death Doulas advocate for clients’ wishes rather than making decisions for them or projecting their own beliefs.
As a nonprofit Registered Charity, HHA works in collaboration with Death Doulas to provide care regardless of a client’s financial circumstances. With a mission to make care for the dying and their loved ones accessible to all, we fundraise and build partnerships in order to remove the financial barriers that stand between people in need and access to quality end-of-life care.
When the Client Hears “There’s nothing more we can do for you”
Death Doulas offer companionship and emotional and practical guidance to the dying person and their loved ones. During this time...
They offer a shoulder to cry on and a supportive, open presence ready to respond to the client’s needs. This may include listening, positive verbal encouragement, reassurance, praise, affirmation, and validation.
They provide information to the client and their loved ones regarding specific resources available to them, such as local funeral homes, legacy work, types of funeral options and types of death plans and vigils.
They may make suggestions for non-pharmacological comfort measures for pain and symptom management and/or give soothing massages and other activities to promote relaxation and comfort.
They facilitate communication between their client/loved ones and healthcare providers.
They help the client prepare for end of life by exploring the client’s preferences, values and wishes. They may assist in preparing advance care directives, living wills, and do-not-resuscitate orders.
They help to implement the client’s death plan, creating and maintaining the appropriate environment and holding vigil that is respectful and in alignment with the person's and their loved ones' wishes.
Just like a Birth Doula supports a person giving birth during the labor process, a Death Doula supports a person during the dying process.
At the Time of Death and/or Bereavement
Death Doulas offer on-going support in grief and bereavement. During this time...
They hold space for loved ones to express their grief.
They may perform, teach or assist in specific cultural, spiritual, or emotional practices or rituals.
They may prepare, or help to prepare, the body.
They may advocate for the client’s or the loved ones’ rights and wishes.
They provide emotional support and follow-up. This might include facilitating grief support groups or offering individual counseling.
They offer referrals to appropriate community resources, as needed.
Death Doulas understand death as a process that takes place over time rather than as a singular event. They focus on enhancing the quality of life during the dying process, providing comfort and support throughout. They offer suggestions for creating a soothing environment for their client and collaborate with healthcare professionals to ensure holistic care.
Death Doula support often includes helping clients with creating meaningful rituals, ceremonies, or legacy projects that reflect their values, beliefs, and personal narratives. Death Doulas assist in preserving memories, facilitating conversations, and encouraging life reviews or recording personal stories.
HHA Death Doulas & Hospice at Home
Hospice at Home allows HHA’s Death Doulas to perform the work that they often describe as their “calling”.
Trained to support within the four domains of care (planning, legacy, vigil and grief), HHA Death Doulas are the foundation of the Hospice at Home program, offering a fully supported in-home end-of-life care experience, whether it be in a traditional home, long-term care facility, group home, shelter, prison cell, or anywhere else someone lays their head to rest.
As part of a care team, HHA's Death Doulas are able to work directly with the person facing death, those who love them, and any other member of the care team to ensure that everything possible is being done so that a death is dignified, peaceful, and provided with culturally sensitive human connection.