End of Life Doula
FAQ

FAQ

  1. What is a death doula? 

As a death doula, I support any person who is living with a life-limiting condition. 

  • I offer a person-centered approach to end-of-life care.
  • I bridge the gap between healthcare and death care.
  • I facilitate conversations to create Advance Care Plans
  • I assist with the creation of legacy projects to honour the life of my client.
  • I provide information regarding community resources and post-death options.
  • I ensure that my clients’ goals and wishes are reflected in the unfolding events of their final weeks, days, and hours.
  • I offer compassionate listening and my commitment to your privacy.
  • I help to create a safe space for a peaceful and meaningful ending.
  • I offer trained grief support for the whole family
  1. What is an Advance Care Plan?
  • Advance Care Planning is a process of reflection and communication. 
  • It is a time for you to reflect on your values and wishes, and to let people know what kind of health and personal care you would want in the future if you were unable to speak for yourself.
  • In Ontario, it is also used to identify your Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) and to share your conclusions with them. 
  • It does not replace either a Power of Attorney (POA) for Personal Care or the need for Informed Consent.
  • It is an opportunity to think about choices and priorities before the onset of a serious illness/condition makes these kinds of conversations stressful and upsetting.
  • The creation of an Advance Care Plan (ACP) empowers the creator and releases the Substitute Decision Makers from the future responsibility (pressure) of trying to guess what would be the best route to take.
  1. How much do your services cost, and are they covered by OHIP?
  • An individual ACP will cost a set fee of $80+HST
  • Once weekly end-of-life/counseling sessions (using my secure video conferencing platform) will cost $80 per hour
  • Once weekly in-person end-of-life/counseling sessions will cost $100 per hour
  • Ongoing, daily support has a different fee schedule.
  • The scope of work and fee schedule is agreed upon by both parties in the form of a service agreement.
  • The fees I charge are based on an hourly rate, but I do not charge extra for additional time spent on researching resources online or making phone calls on my client’s behalf.
  • At this time, death doula services are not covered by OHIP or private health providers. Hopefully, that will change in the future.
  1. Who are your clients?
  • Healthy, middle-aged people who want to make sure their wishes are known in case the unthinkable happens and they are unable to communicate with their decision-makers (Advance Care Planning)
  • Young people who have questions around the subject of death and dying but do not feel comfortable asking their parents.
  • Older people, who want to resolve previous personal conflicts so that they can live out the rest of their lives without regret.
  • People living with a life-limiting illness, who are grieving the losses of their former, carefree existence and their future dreams. 
  • Parents/adults who are unsure how to talk to their grieving children in a way that makes them feel included.
  • Individuals living with a terminal illness, who need support around their death anxiety.
  • Individuals looking for information and/or support regarding the MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) program in Canada.
  • Families who would like their loved one to die at home but need support to make this happen in a calm and meaningful way.
  1. How do people benefit from your services?
  • Advance Care Planning: By having a targeted conversation to explore their goals and wishes regarding end-of-life, my clients are able to create an Advance Care Plan to be shared with close family members. In the event that they become incapacitated for any reason, and unable to communicate any longer, their Substitute Decision Makers (as named in the Plan) can confidently make decisions that they know align with their wishes as outlined. This process encourages people to discuss important questions based on possible future scenarios, and before the situation becomes tense and emotional. The client feels enormous relief in the knowledge that their (grown) children will not have to make difficult decisions on their own. The Substitute Decision Makers also appreciate that their role has been made easier.
  • Grief Support: There are expectations across different cultures of how one should behave after a loss. In some communities, mourning (the outward expression of grief) can be very public and very loud, and last for days. In others, the person who is in mourning is expected to behave sensibly and stoically, and with a minimum of fuss. Oftentimes, a newly bereaved person will be described as “doing really well”, but what this actually means is, they seem to be getting on with their lives without showing very much emotion or distress. The fact is, people in grief often tend to minimize their pain to save the feelings of others. Well-meaning friends are obviously relieved when they don’t have to witness ugly and painful displays of grief. My clients come to me for non-judgemental grief support because they understand that I will hold space for the good, the bad, and the ugly. My goal is not to take their pain away, but to witness it, validate it, and support them as they move through it. When they are ready, we will talk about strategies for finding some meaning in life after their loss.
  • End of Life: Many people like the idea of dying at home, but despite that, the majority of people (in Canada) take their final breath in a hospital or long-term care home. Advances in modern medicine mean that people can live much longer than they did 100 years ago, but this also means that death has become seen as a failure (of doctors to keep the person alive). Since a dying person is often in a hospital setting, this also impacts the involvement of the family. With my assistance in planning and preparation, a client can look forward to a calm, peaceful death in their home, surrounded by familiar faces and cherished memories. 

Grieving Children: I believe that even young children are more capable of understanding death and dying than many adults may think. As an elementary teacher for 30 years, and formerly a widowed mother to two young children (7 and 9), I strongly feel that kids should be included in the grieving process. In addition to my personal experience, I am now a certified Grief Educator, with a specialization in Supporting Grieving Children (Toronto SickKids Community Mental Health). By using an honest and compassionate approach, I give adult clients, with bereaved children in their lives, the tools and strategies to speak to their kids and invite them in. There is a widely accepted notion that we are “protecting” them by offering distractions, euphemisms, and other avoidance tactics, but these ultimately lead to confusion and a lower level of resilience. I help my clients to understand that they can give their kids a real gift by modeling what grief can look like, encouraging them to ask questions, and offering honest, concrete answers.