The women who stay by your side to the end


UK – The death doulas: they are not medical experts, but they work alongside NHS staff in hospices or the community to help patients take control over their final days

In the upstairs room of Blighty Coffee in north London, two women greet their guests as they file in with cups of tea or glasses of wine. On each table are menus, with delicate morsels of suggested topics for the evening ahead. “What things make for a good death?” reads one. “Can you prepare for death and dying?” says another.

She and her colleague, Liz Wong, are among a tiny but growing number of people in Britain trained as end-of-life or death doulas, a concept akin to traditional childbirth doulas but at a very different time of life.

There are at least 100 end-of-life doulas in Britain, according to Living Well Dying Well (LWDW), an East Sussex-based organisation that trains doulas and has organised the London death cafe’s fifth such event. They are not medical experts, but often work alongside NHS professionals in hospices or in the community to help the dying and their families live their last days as meaningfully and with as much control as possible.

Read the rest of the article, by Karen McVeigh, on the Guardian website.