Let me help answer the most obvious ones…
What does “doula” mean?
Doula is Greek in origin and it means “woman who serves.” However, nowadays, more than just women are getting into doula work, which I think is totally awesome!
How is a doula different than a hospice volunteer or a home health aide?
We are there to offer a calming presence and emotional support to the client, their partners and family members. We are to there to offer non-biased, evidence-based information and empower our clients to make informed decisions that are right for them. We anticipate emotional, spiritual, informational and physical needs and make plans accordingly. We are generalists usually with some relevant specialties (ex. law, nursing, massage therapy experience). We are prepared to make referrals to community resources and assist with making connections. We offer non-medical comfort measures and physical support. Lastly, we offer logistical support such as family respite, meal preparation, household help, errand running, etc… Home health aides fulfill basic personal and health care needs whereas hospice volunteers primarily companion the dying but are usually available for a limited number of hours.
Are doulas certified or licensed?
End of life doula work is a relatively new, unregulated field. A few states have passed legislation licensing birth doulas; however, there are currently no regulations for end of life doulas. This is a rather exciting time for the field because it’s in its infancy and is being shaped by those doing the work. Doulas have the flexibility to offer services that are specifically tailored to their unique skill sets instead of being prescribed by a certification board.
Are doulas covered under health insurance or Medicaid?
Since some states are requiring licensure of birth doulas, those states are also enabling their services to be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. I’m hoping this trend continues and that insurance companies do the math and realize doulas save them a considerable amount of money. Our services keep patients in their homes and out of the hospital. This cost savings alone is worth reimbursing.
What do I charge?
My base rate is $25/hour which I bill for on an interval that mutually works best. I accept cash, credit card or check. Things like long distance travel, equipment rentals, or buying supplies, groceries, etc… are of course extra and will be itemized on your bill.
I can’t afford an end of life doula, do you offer discounts?
I truly believe that everyone should experience a good life and a good death. If you can’t afford my services, please contact me. I’m more than willing to consider a sliding scale depending on the circumstances.
How far am I willing to travel?
Well, thanks to video chats, many things can be accomplished with just a phone these days, which is wonderful. If hands-on care is needed or work that requires me to leave the Central New York area, than I’ll be more than willing to consider that on a case by case basis.