“This world can seem marvelously convincing until death collapses the illusion and evicts us from our hiding place. ~Sogyal Rinpoche~

What you will learn in the Certification Course:

Section 1 – Introduction and general information

Section 2 – Services of a Death Doula

Section 3 – What is palliative care?

Section 4 – Practical home care
~ The bed
~ Clothing and useful extras
~ The bathroom
~ Preventing injury to the carer
~ Moving the patient
~ Log-rolling the patient
~ Working safely together with the patient’s assistance
~ Helping the patient to sit up in bed
~ Injury to the patient
~ Injury to the carer
~ How can you avoid problems and speed up recovery?

Section 5 – Physiological and spiritual aspects of dying
~ Emotional changes
~ Physical changes
~ Awareness of impending death
~ Four types of death:
Social
Psychological
Biological
Physiological
~ Choosing the moment to go
~ How can a Death Doula help the dying person with social and psychological concerns:
Provide time and space for communication
Communicate respect and acceptance of the dying person
Avoid withdrawing prematurely from the dying person
Accept that the dying may be extremely difficult for the person
Avoid telling the dying person something that is not true
Provide a holistic assessment and treatment plan

Section 6 – Cultural considerations at the end of life
~ Consider culture, customs and beliefs
~ Why is culture so important?
~ Traditional South African funerals
Xhosa
Zulu
Christian
Catholic
~ Funeral customs in South Africa:
Jewish burial practices
Muslim burial practices
~ The African concept of death
~ The African concept of afterlife
~ Burial and mourning customs
~ Awareness

Section 7 – End-of Life Ethics
~ Equality and human rights
Ethical Principals
Ethical issues in end-of-life care
~Autonomy
Advance directives
~ Beneficence and non-maleficence
~ Justice
~ Informed consent
~ Do-Not-Resuscitate orders
~ ‘Futile’ attempts
~ Refusing and halting health care
~ Truth telling
~ Killing vs allowing to die
~ Terminal sedation
~ Pain relief

Section 8 – What is meant by a ‘good death’?
~ Physical care
~ Seven keys to a good death
~ What should professionals and providers do?

Section 9 – Planning for the end
~ End-of-life planning: Decisions in late-stage care
~ Living wills and advance directives for medical decisions
~ Criteria to be met before your living will can guide medical decision making
~ What else do I need to know?

Section 10 – Caring, comfort and compassion at the end of life
~ Touch the dying:
Know your comfort zone
Get centered
Simply touch
Include touch in the care routine
Ask permission
Gaze softly
Speak slowly and clearly
Touch with intention
Take your time
Keep on checking
~ Music at the end of life
~ Spiritual issues
~ Standard of care

Section 11 – Boundaries and you
~ To protect the doula
~ To protect the patient
~ Boundary guidelines
~ Prevention and intervention
Section 12 – What is inside your Doula bag?
~ What is a doula bag?
~ Essential doula bag checklist
~ The bag
~ Personal hygiene
~ Entertainment
~ Comfort items
~ Essential oils
~ Optional items to consider:
Personal hygiene and comfort items
Enrichment
Wrap-up

Section 13 – Sitting vigil – No one should die alone
~ Your first vigil
~ Create an atmosphere of unconditional love
~ What is a vigil?
~ Your presence
~ Create the space
~ Pain management
~ Physical comfort – The mouth
~ Cleansing the body while sitting vigil
~ Peaceful environment
~ Time out
~ Fresh air
~ Observe religious or spiritual values
~ Dying people say they want to go home
~ Talk to them
~ The dying see dead people
~ Music
~ Common fears of the family
~ As death approaches
~ After death occurs

Section 14 – Sunset – Last reflections

Section 15 – References

Section 16 – Assignments