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Palliative care with a Canadian patient advocate

CHAI is devoted to helping a dying person maintain their dignity and ensuring that their wishes are respected. We also provide palliative care support in decision-making and planning around a person’s death (Advance Care Planning).

Palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of illness with the goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Our health advocates ensure that people have the opportunity to have difficult conversations about death. There are a number of decisions to be made surrounding a person’s end of life and CHAI advocates are there to ensure people are educated and informed about the choices and alternatives in deathcare.

Some of our health advocates are End-of-Life Doulas. We also refer patients, families, and caregivers to local end-of-life doulas. We support the funeral home industry as well as alternatives.

What Is An End-of-Life Doula?

An end-of-life doula is a person who assists in the dying process, much like a birth doula does with the birthing process. It is a role that aims to help families cope with death by recognizing it as a natural and important part of life.

End-of-life doulas educate, guide, and empower families to care for their loved ones on their own, as they journey through this important transition – from living to dying.

Being an end-of-life doula means being of service to the dead and dying.

An end-of-life doula has a wide scope of expertise, which they use to support you and your family (palliative care) during end of life.

They can typically provide help with the following:

Before Death:

  • Help to navigate the medical system from the time of diagnosis through to death
  • Patient advocacy to ensure your needs are met
  • Education and support during advance care planning
  • Supportive discussions about death

After Death:

  • Support in setting up any ritual or ceremony you require
  • Post-death support and care (including assisting with paperwork)
  • Information about body disposition options
  • Assistance with home funerals
  • Grief support

It is common in Canada for the funeral home to take care of all the “arrangements” when a death occurs. End-of-life doulas educate about alternatives.

For example:

  • Green burials – blog post coming soon
  • Keeping your loved one at home before during and after death
  • Getting proper paperwork in place so the family can transport the body of the deceased to the crematorium or place of burial
  • Home funerals

A family can also use a funeral home AND end-of-life doula services simultaneously.

Death has become a taboo subject in our culture. CHAI believes that our society needs to develop a healthier openness around the topic. This will enable people to meet the challenge with less fear and anxiety.

Canadian Health Advocates Inc. is passionate about being of service to the dying person and their families. We want people to be informed about their choices and ultimately have what they want at end of life.

There are ways a dying person can help their loved ones such as:

  • Recording and documenting their end of life wishes and plans.
  • Writing down the location of legal documents, passwords and contact numbers.
  • Communicating to them that these things have been recorded and where to find this document.

It can be difficult for your loved ones to locate important information and make these decisions on their own.