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About

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“One of the things I want to do is talk with people earlier than right before the end of their life.  I’d like to let our younger people with terminal illnesses, as well as our elderly, know that there is a substantial benefit to doula care in regards to making their own decisions for their care in the form of advance directives and preparations for their final days. I want them to feel in charge of what happens to them. The doula works in conjunction with hospice; it’s a matter of providing total care of what a person needs when in the last phase of their life.” ~Patti Urban, founder of Your End of Life Doula

Why I Started This Business

Your End of Life Doula was created for two reasons. One is to educate the public on what end-of-life care is all about and how best to plan for it when you are healthy so you have peace of mind. And two, I want to let people know about the choices they have at the very end of their life, and the differences between palliative and hospice care.

The end of life doula [EOLD] plays an important role as a bridge between both of those worlds. The doula can and often does work in conjunction with hospice. It’s just a matter of providing the total care that a person needs when they’re facing the end of their life. The doula provides the support, guidance and assistance that families and patients both need when facing terminal illness or imminent death.

Then there is the larger scope of the work I do. Many people never think about what they want the end of their life to look like, or what they want to happen. And many are under the misassumption that Medicare will pay for end of life care. But that’s simply not true. Medicare will pay for the medical portion of it, but not the non-medical portion such as caregiving, in-home care, and family education. And really, patients and families need more than just the medical portion when they’re coming up to the very end-of-life.

I want to offer an alternative – a place where people can turn when in need of end of life counsel, while also empowering healthy people to make life decisions about their own end of life care. This provides them with peace of mind knowing that they and their loved ones are no longer burdened by the unknown. It’s all about choice. And making sure people know what their options are and how to plan for them in the long run.

I am the former owner of Comfort Keepers, a home care agency in Guilford, Connecticut, that primarily provides non-medical services to seniors, or the elderly, in their home like companion care, personal care, live-in care, and transportation. As the owner of a home care agency for eight years, I’ve witnessed good deaths and not so good ones.  Now I believe it’s time I take a stand to make a difference.

I was blessed to learn about the work of hospice nurse Suzanne B. O’Brien RN and her End of Life Caregiving, Caring for The Dying Trainings. Her award winning End of Life Doula training program is called Doulagivers®.  I ultimately took and completed the training and was thrilled with the results.  I knew that I could help others by being a certified end of life doula.  But I also wanted to do more. So, I purchased the licensing rights to this award winning global program, hand-picking people to be trained – mostly RNs and LPNs and other healthcare professionals, to become Level 3 Certified End of Life Doulas. Suzanne came to Guilford to personally train them. I was now ready to offer this specialized service to my community and launched Your End of Life Doula. Our professional doulas are guides and assist families with loved ones with terminal illnesses.  They are angels on earth who help families and patients walk through the final steps of life with courage and sense of peace.

 

“There is a lot of confusion with terminal diagnosis. Doctors give out hope but are not allowing people to grasp that their journey is not going to continue.”  ~Patti

 

My Own Personal Story – The Difference Between Dying in a Hospital and Dying at Home

Patti and DadI have lost family members and know what it’s like to watch someone you love die. And after witnessing the deaths of both my brother-in-law and father, I knew there was a better way to die.

My brother-in-law was left on life support for months unnecessarily. His Power of Attorney was not able to do the right thing and take him off life support when we all knew that was what he wanted. But we were not legally authorized to do so. This was a painful learning lesson for all of us.

My father’s death was a different experience. My dad was 86 years old when he began to fail. He had some dementia, and was becoming frail and weak.  Because he and my mom had talked at length about quality of life prior to getting ill, they had all their paperwork in order.  She knew what his wishes were, and so did we, his kids.  We were able to bring him home from the hospital and invite hospice services to begin.  Because of my end of life doula training, I was able to assist my dad and create a quiet and pleasant atmosphere for him.  We spoke with him and told him what was happening.  We asked if that was ok.  It was.  We had the hospital bed brought in and all the equipment he needed.  The hospice nurse remarked that she had never come into a home for the first time where everything was so calm and organized.  She was amazed when I told her all that had been done.  My dad passed peacefully within the week.  There was not much to do since everything was done the year before.  All the funeral arrangements had been made.  The only thing that needed to be done was to write the obituary, which I did earlier in the week.  We were all able to contribute to it as we were not rushed.  By the time my dad died, we were able to give the funeral director everything she needed.

This took so much stress off my mom and my family.

“Hospice is not about dying, it’s about living and living the best we can before we die.” ~Patti

My Vision – To Help All With End of Life Decisions

My father’s passing proved to me that there is a much better way to die than how we, as a society, do it.  My vision is to work with healthy people and educate them on end of life planning.  Preparing advance directives is much easier when you are healthy then when you’ve just been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  My purpose is to make the end of a person’s life about them and their family and not about chaos and stress.  In addition, through my doulas, we can assist in training families on the three phases of end of life, show them how to care for their loved one, and prepare the patient for death.

There is so much good that can be done with reviewing a person’s life with them, being their advocate for procedures and treatments, and creating memories.  This is my passion.