End of life support

I provide different types of support, non-medical, practical, emotional, spiritual and legalities, for you and your family and community on death, dying and bereavement.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of tasks I can support you with. When requesting help, please be specific and ask about tasks you would like me to pick up.

On this page:

  • Practical support in the home
  • Coordinating care services
  • Emotional support
  • Spiritual support
  • Legacy work
  • Legalities and financials
  • Respite care and night sitting
  • Vigils while dying and after death 
  • Funerals and celebrations
  • Costs

Read What does a death doula do?

Practical support in the home

  • cooking
  • eating
  • taking medication
  • light cleaning
  • clothes washing 
  • walking the dog.

Coordinating care services

  • liaising with health professionals 
  • liaising with services provided by hospitals, hospices, GP surgeries and palliative care teams
  • arranging transportation to appointments
  • working alongside hospital discharge teams if there’s no care package available a short notice.

Emotional support

  • talking about fears, hopes and wishes related to death
  • demystifying the process of dying
  • companionship on a social level
  • allowing you to talk about topics you can’t speak to your family about
  • allowing you and your family to talk about difficult feelings
  • helping your community to prepare for your death
  • vigil sitting with your family and friends during the active dying phase.

Spiritual support

  • connecting with your faith, faith community and practices
  • exploring what gives your life meaning
  • discussing how you want to be remembered
  • sharing your life story
  • making amends.

Legacy work

  • reviewing your life
  • sharing your memories
  • creating precious moments with friends and family

Legacy projects might include:

  • recording personal stories
  • a collection of your recipes
  • scrapbooks
  • writing letters
  • creating memory boxes
  • a blanket or teddy made out of your favourite clothes
  • creating poems or songs for your loved ones.

Legalities and finances

    • organising paperwork
    • getting financial support available, benefits for disability and carers, and bereavement benefits
    • will writing (I have a law degree so can create a simple will)
    • setting up a power of attorney
    • advance decisions to refuse treatment and statement of wishes (see advance planning)
    • digital legacy planning.

    Respite care and night sitting

      • respite care – relief for your caregivers, by allowing them to take breaks while ensuring that you’re not alone, if that’s your wishes
      • night sitting – being with you throughout the night, either alone or alongside your friends and family.

      Vigils while dying and after death

        As you near the very end of life and begin slipping into unconsciousness, your family and friends may gather around your bedside if that’s your wish. This is known as the vigil or death vigil. It’s a time for people to show support as you transition so you’re not alone.

        In your statement of wishes in your advance care plan, you may have stated your preferences about:

        • who you want to be at your bedside
        • your religious or spiritual values and practices you have observed
        • music you want played
        • planned time out from visitors
        • any other specific needs.

        This helps ensure you have the vigil you want and lets the people holding vigil to offer companionship and presence in line with your wishes.

        Family and community often support with:

        • pain management – if they see signs of you being in pain, they can alert the medical professionals
        • physical comfort – like cleaning the mouth with wet sponges or massaging hand and foot cream
        • peaceful environment – you might have asked for limited numbers around your bed, or a quiet space with low voices
        • alone time – knowing when to ask everyone to leave the bedside, so you can have some time alone
        • religious or spiritual practices – like the last rites or any other practices you want to be observed.

        If you have died at home, you may want to plan for your vigil once you die. This could include things like ceremonies you want to take place after death, how you want your body cared for and who you want to invite to take part. 

        Costs

        • £25 an hour for end-of-life support
        • £250 for night sitting and vigils
        • travel costs at HMRC benchmark 0.45p per mile.