How End-Of-Life Doulas Are Supporting Seniors And Families During The COVID-19 Pandemic

By Ashley Johnson

The word Doula, comes from the Greek term for a female servant, and is often used by people who provide support and comfort to people during pregnancy and – more recently – to those who are dying. Waiting for the birth of a baby and waiting for a person to transition are very similar as both require the doula to be fearless, patient and calm. End of Life Doulas enrich the experience for patients, family members and friends, while strengthen the relationship between medical and non-medical support.

In many cultures throughout history; mental, spiritual, physical and emotional support has been an fundamental part of the transition to death. Today, such support is rare, especially in Western cultural settings which tend to avoid discussions about death. The Conversation Project survey concluded that 90% of people say that talking with loved ones about end of life is important, yet only 27% have actually done so. Although seemingly taboo, these conversations offer practical information about the choices we can make before we die, like advance directives, burial options, life insurance selections, and legacy projects. 

Loyal Hands End of Life Doulas are trained professionals who provide support and guidance with holistic services to individuals and their families during transformative life changes. Our doula-client relationship engages the difficult and complex emotions while navigating the signs and symptoms of the dying process. Our doulas are apart of the “Death Positive Movement”, which aims to make conversations about death normal and routine. End of Life Doulas (Death Doulas) are helpful in easing the end of life process by blending medical support with emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual support.

Loyal Hands was established to be helpful in easing the end of life process by creating of the cohesion between medical support with emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual support. A huge part of being an End of Life Doula is to establish trust and build a relationship with medical teams, patients and their families. End of life doulas complement the care from hospitals, senior-care facilities and hospices while filling in the gaps that occur during the dying process. Death doulas also step in to areas where hospice and hospitals may need help, such as:

  • Advance Health Care Planning
  • Practical Training For Family Caregivers
  • Creating a Plan for Support at the Patient’s Time of Death
  • Help with Planning Funeral and Memorial Services
  • Companionship to Patients
  • Needed Relief for Family Caregivers
  • Therapeutic Music and Animal-Assisted Social Visits
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Help with Household Errands
  • Vigil presence for Actively Dying Patients

“Now more than ever we feel universally responsible to share our expertise on death, dying, mental, physical, emotional health. During this pandemic, we are seeing the importance of having health care proxies, advance directives, power of attorneys and in the same breath the importance of humanity” said J Ward, an end-of-life Doula with Loyal Hands.

To combat panic buying right now during the COVID-19 pandemic, our Loyal Hands team has been offering free grocery shopping services for the elderly, dying and disabled. Times are particularly challenging for many people. Stress and anxiety are at an all time high as social isolation can make life even harder, which is why Loyal Hands is offering a free online platform full of resources like mediation, stories, music, and talks to support mental and emotional wellness.

While there is much anxiety about death, the presence of an end-of-life doula helps clients and families be impartial of the pain and fear of the unknown. In return, this frees up space and energy so they can experience the positive emotions that come with death. The comforting presence of a doula enables opportunities for the dying to connect more deeply with loved ones and to enjoy the time that remains. Our clients have the right to make the right decisions for them about their life and death.

Ashley Johnson is a NEDA proficient End of Life Doula. She has been in the death care industry for over a decade.
Loyal Hands is NEDA proficient End Of Life Consulting agency based in Orlando Florida yet serves clients all over the world through virtual consultations and travel. Contact the team via phone at 407-476-8506 or send online inquiries via email to care@loyal-hands.com. For additional information regarding services, visit loyal-hands.com. You can also reach them via Instagram @Loyal.Hands

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