"Technological society has forgotten what scholars call the ‘dying role’ and its importance to people as life approaches its end"
Although the title ‘Soul Midwife’ is modern, the role we offer is as ancient as humankind... Since the dawn of humanity, people have been caring for the dying and easing their transition.
“A good death is an extraordinary, moving and sacred experience. It can also have a healing quality, not only for the person who is involved but their families, friends and the wider community.”
What Do I Offer As a Soul Midwife?
I work as a compassionate, non-medical, holistic companion guiding and supporting people towards a dignified, gentle and tranquil death.
I respect a dying person’s religious/spiritual or atheist/agnostic beliefs and practices.
I offer a space to talk about death and I listen (without fixing).
I might work with someone from the point of diagnosis or introduction of palliative care.
I provide comfort, continuous support and reassurance in helping a dying person to experience the death he or she wants.
I offer comfort by gentle touch (not massage) to alleviate anxiety. This can be done through clothes and is non-invasive. I may use sound, touch, colour and smell and other gentle techniques to help alleviate pain and anxiety.
I offer to vigil towards death if the family would like me to. This may give the family the chance for some rest or breaks. This is always with respect to the sensitivity of the family and the patient’s wishes.
I can offer support to family members and friends and through encouragement and time to talk, I can demystify the dying process for them.
I work harmoniously with all associated health professionals (doctors, nurses, carers, both at home or in Care Homes or Hospices). I do not infringe upon their work, and I hold them in great respect.
In many ways, Soul Midwifery offers the ancient skills of companionship, care, softening the final hours and sitting with the dying in peace and calmness which is something we would all no doubt like at the end of our lives. It is quite simple really.
The Soul Midwives' Handbook: The Holistic and Spiritual Care of the Dying by Felicity Warner
Soul Midwives, a movement begun by Felicity Warner, has changed the face of modern holistic and spiritual palliative care in the UK and abroad.
Soul Midwives are holistic and spiritual companions to the dying. They draw on traditional skills, now largely forgotten, applying them to our modern world to ease the passage of those who are dying. Their services are used within people's own homes, in hospices and in care homes.
Anyone with an open and compassionate heart and a desire to help others can train to become a Soul Midwife. This book will guide you through the core principles and techniques of this practice.
Approximately 10 million people in the UK are over 65 - and that number is growing fast. Every year, thousands of people face the traumatic challenges brought about by their ageing parents' ailing health. The question of care places a huge burden of financial and emotional stress on a growing number of families, who may feel overwhelmed but who want to do the right thing to ensure their parents' dignity.
Former editor-in-chief of Bella magazine Jackie Highe has written a book that is a lifeline for people who need emotional support and validation as they do their best to cope. With clearly laid-out guides to services and options, the book covers all the practicalities - everything from organising home care to power of attorney to how to choose a care home. But it does much more, taking readers on a journey through their own feelings, from when the first changes appear - when talking can be difficult - through all the ramifications of ill-health to death itself. It tackles what can often be a murky and depressing subject with warmth and humanity, using true stories and deeply moving quotes from people who are living through the changes. This book brings to life the rollercoaster of emotions that families live through - and provides clear practical help and support.
Gentle Dying, A: The Simple Guide To Achieving A Peaceful Death by Felicity Warner
Gentle Dying is a wonderful tool to help anyone with a terminal illness or those caring for someone who is dying. A modern death often means being cared for by strangers in an unfamiliar place, away from home where the emphasis is on preventing death rather than embracing it in a compassionate way. Gentle Dying is about switching the focus from cure to human touch and emotional support. Full of practical advice and simple techniques to support the dying process for carers and those that are dying. Gentle Dying will show you that death isn't something to be feared but a rite of passage, a time of gentle reflection, optimism and a preparation for the next life.
How Do You Talk To Loved Ones About End-Of-Life Care? by Radio Boston
There’s one conversation that few people want to have — even though most people think it’s important to have it. It’s the one about death. More specifically, about how we want to live at the end of our lives — and how we want to die.
It sounds grim, but Ellen Goodman says it doesn’t have to be. And 90 percent of Americans believe it’s an important conversation one to have, but less than 30 percent of us have actually had it.
The Death Doulas by BBC Radio 4
Alan Dein meets doulas in Lewes in Sussex - people working in palliative care from all walks of life who have learned how to be companions for people who are dying. They also are involved in consciousness-raising about the end of life and run Death Cafes in Lewes. We follow doulas Polly and Jane as they reveal their motivation for being involved in this work, talk to people about end of life directives, and describe what a doula does in the room of a dying person.
© 2016 Katrina Taee
All Rights Reserved
Englefield Green has its own Death Café run by Katrina Taee. At Death Cafés people discuss death whilst enjoying coffee and cake. The aim is to increase awareness of death and to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.
Katrina and a colleague have written a book about grief. It is a concise visual guide to grief and and is also a useful resource for those supporting loved ones who grieve. Hopefully it will be published this year.
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