Most people are familiar with the concept of birth doula...someone who helps a mother as she welcomes a new baby into the world. An end-of-life doula, what we refer to as a CONSULTANT or NAVIGATOR, is one who accompanies a patient on his or her way out of the world and often assists the family at the same time.
We as certified doulas provide consultation, medical and social navigating, vigil planning, and offer practical, emotional and spiritual guidance when caregivers, family, and the patient are overwhelmed by the multiple complexities of an often confusing system. We in this culture are not trained in how to "do death." Navigators can help pave the way.
In choosing an end-of-lfe navigator, you are selecting someone to walk the path with you, to hold your hand when you feel lost, and to understand where the journey leads.
Navigators are not traditional caregivers. They do not take the place of the medical staff.
We are midwives, advocates, traveling companions.Our roles can also include logistical matters, helping with funeral plans, and guiding family in the roles and responsibilities. Most of all, we are present and mindful of the story...the story called life.