S2E11: Midwives for the End of Life

End-of-Life Doulas, also called midwives, have a similar role to birth midwives – they advise and advocate for a client’s wishes, in this case, how they perceive a “good death.” According to the International End of Life Doulas Association (INELDA), “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.”

The origin of the term midwife – “with woman” – captures the essence of their care. A midwife puts compassionate partnership at its center and acknowledges the life experience and knowledge that people bring to their own treatment. Midwifery is known for honoring and trusting in the body’s natural processes — originally, labor and birthing, and more recently the end of life and dying.  While people are experiencing process of the work of the end of their lives, the midwives accompany, helping their client to trust the process of either ushering life into the world or leaving this world through the dying process.

In this episode we talk about this important service and interview Linda Barnard, an end-of-life doula living in southern California.  She is a gerontological nurse practitioner and has a doctorate of nursing practice.  In 2020 she decided to devote her time to working as a doula and started her own company called Heading Home.  Linda shares about where Doulas fit into our existing healthcare system.

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Recipe of the Week:

Fresh apples on wooden planks.  Image by pasja1000 (Pixabay)

We have a “salad” recipe for those of you with a sweet tooth – how about a candy apple salad? This recipe has chopped apple, pineapple and peanuts with a cool whip base…with a heat wave hitting most of us, this sounds incredible chilled. Head over to Columbia Farmers Market for the recipe!

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