|A hospice or doula can provide emotional support at the end of life|
For the family, there are so many things to communicate about, plans to be made that have not been done yet, advanced directives, medical and legal issues. Family members can be overwhelmed with the details of life in addition to the emotional challenges of losing their loved one most likely in the coming weeks or months.
Two support resources can be extremely helpful at this time. Hospice is well known and described as "a type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the terminally ill or seriously ill patent's pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. In Western society, the concept of hospice has been evolving in Europe since the 11th century."
A lesser known support resource is a doula. Doulas are known for their support during births, and yet they have also been trained to provide support at the end of life in more recent years. From Wikipedia, we learn of the definition of a "death midwife" or "death doula".
"A death midwife, or death doula, is a person who assists in the dying process, much like a midwife or doula does with the birthing process. It is often a community based role, aiming to help mourners cope with death through recognizing it as a natural and important part of life. The role is also related to hospice or end of life care, similarly to how midwifery is to obstetrics. Practitioners perform a large variety of service, including but not limited to creating death plans, providing spiritual, psychological, and social support, and in rare instances, physical assistance. Their role can also include more logistical activities, helping with services, planning funerals and memorial services, and guiding mourners in their rights and responsibilities."
There is professional training for both hospice work as well as doulas. For doula training in particular, it may be taken by any professional, or even a family member, to help in a variety of ways during the end of life process. The services of a doula need to be evaluated to see if they provide services for needs that are not already being provided by a third party or hospice.
Every family has different needs and the support services that are available also vary with what they provide.
The end of life is a very emotional and challenging time for families, regardless of how much preparation they may have had. When the actual event starts to happen, additional resources of hospice and doulas can be invaluable.