What is a doula?

Doula is a greek word that originally meant "woman who serves another woman".  In the 1960s it was adopted to define the role of an assistant during the birth process. Birth Doulas have evolved into a well-known partner for women as they prepare for and experience the birth of a child.

dou·la ˈdo͞olə/noun

  1. a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.

Henry Fersko-Weiss, founder of the International End-of-Life Doula Association (INELDA) identified in the early 2000s that there was room for more assistance in the process of death. He saw that death is as natural as birth, and after meeting a birth doula, decided to develop a field of "End of Life Doulas", also called "Death Doulas". 

Doulas are both male and female, and find that they are called to serve the dying. As INELDA states on their website: 
"Doulas provide emotional, spiritual, and physical support at an intensely personal and crucial time. They assist people in finding meaning, creating a legacy project, and planning for how the last days will unfold. Doulas also guide and support loved ones through the last days of life and ease the suffering of grief in its early stages."

Peaceful Presence Doulas have years of experience with caring for people at the end of life and have been present for hundreds of deaths in our roles as hospice nurses. We are Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses who have knowledge and understanding of the medical aspect of death. However, we believe in the power of simple presence during the last stage of life and the power of non-medical symptom management as well. We offer comfort, education and suggestions for how families can be more aware and available to accompany the dying. We believe in bringing deeper meaning to dying and our goal is to reimagine the way our community talks about and experiences death.