What is the difference between the role of Hospice or Palliative care and an End of Life Doula?
Updated: Mar 28, 2021
During any presentation on the role of a Doula, I am asked this question.
I think the most critical point to make is that an End of Life Doula is a non medical
Role. A Doula acts as a support and guide for the sick or dying person. Ideally they have had time to build a relationship. If this is not the case, the Doula can still bring her/his skills as a Compassionate presence and attentive listener.She/He can support the family and help to guide those present to have a gentle, supportive atmosphere.The focus for the Doula is the comfort, care and surroundings for the person going through the process.
Hospice and Palliative care are essential medical and professional services and there should be no confusion in that a Certified End of life Doulas role is complementary to Hospice and Palliative Care and in no way in place of or in competition with the services that each provides.
A further important difference between the services is the level of focus and time a Doula offers.The Doula can provide individualized care that is tailored for that person as this is her/his focus and they are not balancing a caseload of individuals and restricted in time by having other clients to visit. Cover can be several hours at a time and if more
other Doulas work with her/him.
I see the role of an End of Life Doula as a holistic service that can add to the quality and comfort and care of an individual and a further way to be supportive of the Hospice and palliative care facilities that are provided.