October 2017 class members group photo. Handling difficult emotions–Join us for our first Doula Share Circle. Our work helping families is just too immense and demanding to neglect ourselves. Dr. Roxane Chan will lead a discussion on the Science and Practice of Mindful Self-Compassion. Also in this month’s newsletter: learn to facilitate home funerals/green burial (workshop appropriate for community members and end-of-life doulas); are you struggling to get your doula career going? What can we do to encourage you? Read the newsletter.
See our October newsletter. End-of-life doulas bridging the gaps; becoming an EOLD; Glen Campbell and “I’m not gonna miss you”; Fall Special on continuing education–7.0 Nursing CEUs approved for the Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning Facilitator Training; Home Funeral & Green Burial Workshop; Members’ Only Webinars (October: Green Burial); What it feels like to die (the “realer than real” dreams of the dying); All Souls/Day of the Dead Gathering in Ann Arbor; and more! Read the newsletter.
Another aspect to having good boundaries as an end-of-life doula is simply knowing when to hold back and not to say or do anything. Recently, my good friend died. During her illness I realized early on that I would have to try really hard not to try to be her doula because I was her friend first. Looking back, I did a lot of doula things, but it was always on the fly, spontaneous and mixed in with friend things. She never asked for a sit-down doula consultation, but we did talk about end-of-life issues and decisions as part of normal conversation when she asked about my work and teaching. She quietly took it all in and then she moved on. Did I want to tell her more? Did I want to meet with the family, or at least her partner, and “be a doula?” Yes, but I did not. I held back. I waited and tried to be available to her when she needed me.
Note: Jon Underwood, the founder of the international Death Cafe, died suddenly on June 27. Read more about it here.
I first heard about Death Café in the spring of 2012. I can’t remember where, but I think it was from someone in the National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA). I was on the board of directors at the time. I thought, “What a brilliant idea! I’m already kind of doing that,” what with a natural death study group I had been leading for two years, and the inevitable discussions that people would stay for after community home funeral presentations. I knew that people need to talk about death and that there wasn’t enough opportunity. So, I began to look into what this Death Café thing was all about.
In 2014, the National Institutes of Health published the landmark report Dying in America in which they made several recommendations regarding end-of-life care, namely, that we need:
- Comprehensive person-centered, family-oriented end-of-life care;
- More education and better standards for doing Advance Care Planning;
- More end-of-life care providers of many disciplines who are better trained; and
- Better policies and payment systems to support high-quality end-of-life care.
What the Future of End-of-Life Care Looks Like
Recently, Next Avenue Blogger Denise Logeland published a summary of interviews with experts about What the Future of Caregiving Looks Like. They stated that in the next 10 years there would be:
- Maintain good professional and personal boundaries. Sometimes we feel like chameleons, but even as we blend in, we remain separate and strong. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s not appropriate to become friends with clients, no matter how long or mutually rewarding your professional relationship has been. It is too difficult and muddy to transition from this role. Unless you are acting as end-of-life doula for family or close friends, you will say good-bye to them after your services are no longer needed and that is as it should be.