The service is delivered by End of Life Doula UK and forms part of work around end of life care which was funded by NHS South West London’s 2022-2023 Innovation Fund. End of life doulas offer practical, emotional and if required, spiritual support to those living with a life-limiting illness, their families and others that are important to them.
Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, South West London ICB’s end of life care clinical lead, said: “Being able to access an end of life doula when you or a loved one is facing death can be so helpful at what can be a very stressful time.
“The end of life doula works alongside individuals and their families to work out what is most important to them and ensure that conversations around their death can be approached without fear or loneliness. Anyone finding themselves in this position can reach out to self-refer into this service.”
Dr Emma Clare, Director at End of Life Doula UK, said: “Sometimes it isn’t clear to people if they need an end of life doula or not. I’d like to encourage people to pick up the phone and have a conversation with us.
“Each situation is different, and the service can be there as little or as much as people need. We will always collaborate to form the best plan, based on individual circumstances and these plans can adapt along with the situation.”
The end of life doula works alongside individuals and their families to work out what is most important to them and ensure that conversations around their death can be approached without fear or loneliness. Anyone finding themselves in this position can reach out to self-refer into this service.Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, GP
Martin O’Toole, Project Manager, added “As end of life doulas we are not just there for the people at the end of their lives, we are also there to help and support their loved ones and carers. We can offer them a little break, even just the opportunity to pop out and get a haircut and have a little bit of normality can make all the difference.”
To be eligible for the service, individuals must have the mental capacity to consent to receiving support. Health and care staff can’t refer patients to the service but can support people to make the referral themselves.
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