Death doula, death midwife and amicus mortis (a friend in death). Interested in learning more? Here are some of the local training offerings:
‘The art of midwifing death is based on the premise that death is more than the end of life – it is a profound human experience. What the dying seek is someone who listens and who is present and responsive to their changing needs’.
The Midwifing Death course is run by Michael Barbato, a retired palliative care physician and Ann Barbato, a bereavement counselor and yoga teacher, along with community and palliative care nurse Judith Hunt.
The facilitators claim that the course ‘will help to instill confidence and will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to midwife someone who is dying as well as supporting their family. It is suitable for anyone who wishes to care for another whether that be in a personal, volunteer or professional capacity’.
Midwifing Death is conducted as a mix of face-to-face and correspondence, or as a distance education program.
Preparing the Way – End of life doula
Much like a death midwife, a death doula is a person who assists in the dying process in the same way that a midwife or doula assists with birthing. The Australian Doula College describe it as:
‘a non-medical role that provides support, options and education assisting the dying and those around them have their end of life unfold in alignment with their wishes, to preserve the quality of life, well-being and self-worth up to and beyond the end of life as we know it’.
The facilitators claim that the Preparing the Way course is suitable for carers as well as clinicians who wish to deepen their skills in end of life support e.g. Nurses, Complementary Therapists, Aged Residential Facility staff etc.
Preparing the Way is offered in 2 parts; the Foundation Workshop and an optional 3 day Course.
According to the Natural Death Care Centre their Deathwalker training course has been conducted in New Zealand, USA, Europe and all over Australia.
‘Death is the natural and sacred end of our lives. A journey we will all take sooner or later, suddenly or slowly. Being more familiar with death can really enhance the way we live, and allow us to be more fully engaged. We all have the inherent capacity to do life and death the best we can’.
A 3 day workshop, the Deathwalker Training is endorsed for professional development points by the Australian Association of Social Workers and the Australian Counselling Association.
(Image credit Simon Blanckensee www.simonblanckensee.com)