Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Hope Doula Story: Providing Practical, Emotional and Spiritual Support

“The lovely lady in this photo is Dotty. As a Hope Doula, we visit together weekly for several hours. Dotty lives alone aided by a caring neighbor as her caregiver. Dotty wonders, at 95, why she is still here. She’s ready to go. I’ve sensed that during our conversations as she speaks of her late husband. I asked her “what’s the first thing you’ll do when you see him in heaven?” She replied, “l’ll run to him and kiss him.” She talks openly about her faith, and loves when Chaplain Bill visits, so I’ve been playing Christian music for her. She loves it. As I listen to her share sad feelings, I don’t try to change her mind. I tell her I understand. I miss my husband too. A Doula offers comfort, support and compassion to those nearing life’s end by providing physical, emotional and spiritual support. When I write my Doula Report, my words provide an extra set of eyes and ears to Dotty’s social worker. I’m part of the Hope team. It’s ironic, when Dotty complains about all the people who come and go. Yet when I leave, she stands up for a big hug and yells as I open the front door, “When are you coming back? Come back anytime.” I reply, “I’ll be back.”
~ Shalom, Shelly Goldenberg

About Hope's End of Life Doulas

Just as birth doulas help mothers bring their newborns into the world, end of life doulas bring comfort to those who are in their final days – as well as their families.

A volunteer doula can provide emotional and spiritual support through the end of life process. After completing their certification, Hope Doulas are assigned to individuals or families who may be struggling to cope with the challenges of living with serious illness.

Doulas visit on a regular basis to identify ways to assist the family and loved ones. They will also collaborate directly with the Hope interdisciplinary team members, including nurses, social workers, aides, chaplains, and others. During the final hours, doulas may arrange for additional volunteers to sit vigil.

Hope's Doulas have a minimum of one year of experience with direct care and complete an in-depth educational series, which includes topics such as compassionate care, legacy projects, Reiki, advance card planning, anticipatory grief and bereavement, active listening, ritual and vigil, and spiritual pain. They are prepared for deep, meaningful work that requires an increased level of volunteer commitment.

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