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rawlings-et-al-2023-experiences-of-engaging-a-death-doula-qualitative-interviews-with-bereaved-fa.pdf (160.68 kB)

Experiences of engaging a death doula: qualitative interviews with bereaved family members

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posted on 2024-07-03, 04:58 authored by Deb Rawlings, Kristine Van Dinther, Lauren Miller-LewisLauren Miller-Lewis, Jenifer Tieman, Kate Swetenham
Background: There has been an emerging trend of adopting a death doula, a non-medical advocate and guide for people at the end of life and their families. While there has been growing empirical research regarding the work of death doulas, no studies have been undertaken with the families who have engaged them. Objectives: To understand the experiences of families who used a death doula in terms of what they did for the patient and family; to understand the benefits and drawbacks of using a death doula; and to use family insight to determine cultural shifts towards death and dying, and what the death doula phenomenon tells us around our attitudes towards death and dying. Methods: We recruited and interviewed 10 bereaved family members to learn about their experiences using a death doula. This qualitative research took an interpretive phenomenological approach, and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results: The most valuable attribute the families gained from death doulas was an increase in death literacy resulting in personal empowerment. Empowerment enabled positive end-of-life experiences for the family and personalised deaths for the patient. A novel finding was that the connections and knowledge shared between the death doula and family had a resonant effect, resulting in families being more comfortable with death and keen to share their knowledge with others. Therefore, family engagement of a death doula led to an increase in community awareness around death and dying. Conclusion: Family members’ experience with a death doula was overwhelmingly positive, empowering them practically and emotionally to deliver the best end-of-life care. Empathy and sharing of knowledge by death doulas were valued by families and resulted in an increase in death literacy which provided families with opportunities to ‘pay it forward’. Furthermore, the relationships formed between doulas and families have the potential for a lasting, resonant effect.

History

Volume

17

Start Page

1

End Page

15

Number of Pages

15

eISSN

2632-3524

ISSN

2632-3524

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Publisher License

CC BY-NC

Additional Rights

CC BY-NC

Language

en

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

Acceptance Date

2023-09-25

Author Research Institute

  • Appleton Institute

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Medium

Electronic-eCollection

Journal

Palliative Care and Social Practice

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