What if you could approach end of life from a place of curiosity, courage, and compassion? 

Mono Brown Vancouver Death Doula

I work with clients to identify, discuss, plan for, and act upon their end-of-life wishes, values, beliefs, and needs.

As a death doula, I view end of life as a potentially transformative stage rife with opportunities for self-actualization.

I find that, when encouraged in various ways to tune into their inner wisdom, most people easily discover powerful inner resources for approaching end of life from a place of empowerment.

My death doula practice is supported by my expertise as an educator, health researcher, and writing consultant - all roles that honed my knowledge of end-of-life issues and ability to help individuals and groups navigate these issues skillfully and authentically.

MONO BROWN, PhD [ they / them ]

MONO BROWN, PhD [ they / them ]

Registered Death Doula, End of Life Doula Association of Canada

In addition to working with clients of all ages and backgrounds, I specialize in work with marginalized and oppressed groups. As a queer and trans (non-binary) person, I both advocate for and promote self-advocacy among clients, in medical and social contexts, such as hospitals and workplaces, where a lack of knowledge or respect may be negatively affecting their treatment and care.

Vancouver Death Doula Services (1)

MY ROLE AS A DEATH DOULA

Clients come to me at various stages in the process of preparing for end-of-life. My services include

Companioning + End-of-Life Conversations

Creating a safe, supportive space for individuals, couples, and families to discuss and explore death and dying.

Grief Work

Supporting clients with working through loss of any kind (for example, a loved one or a pet or even a near-loss). Grief may present as death anxiety or fear of dying. We incorporate rituals and practices for moving through grief.

Resources and Referral

Providing hands-on assistance with practical end-of-life matters, such as Advance Care Planning, burial, legacy work, and memorialization. I help clients transform their wishes into reality and connect with resources.

Self-Advocacy

Offering guidance for those facing a terminal diagnosis to ensure respect and support for their identity, wishes, needs, and beliefs in health and medical contexts.

Vigil Work

Helping primary caregivers maintain a supportive presence by the bedside and helping family and friends with the emotional, spiritual, and practical challenges of dying.

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Truly, any aspect of death and dying is ripe for doula work. No matter the issue, the clarity these sessions provide in terms of helping a client both identify and act on their own wishes, values, and beliefs can be life-altering.

FAQ

Q: What is a death doula?

In Douglas College’s End of Life Care Doula program, a death doula, or “end of life doula,” is described as a “companion and coach who provides practical and emotional support before, during, and after death.”

Death doula work includes:

  • facilitating conversations about end-of-life and using these conversations to help individuals identify end-of-life priorities, wishes, values, beliefs, assumptions, anxieties, or fears
  • promoting, educating about, and guiding clients through established forms of preplanning, such as Advance Care Planning
  • helping individuals, couples, and families make decisions about burial, legacy, memorialization, and other practical matters
  • companioning with clients, bearing witness to grief, and creating a safe space for the emotional, spiritual, psychological, and practical explorations of death and dying
    connecting clients with education and resources and providing referrals
  • providing respite and vigil support

The End of Life Doula Association of Canada elaborates:

The end-of-life doula can educate, advocate for and empower their clients to embrace the dying process early and change the conversation about death. By better aligning client needs with their expectations and wishes, the end-of-life doula can significantly improve the quality and dignity of the end of life journey.

Whether one chooses to die at home, in palliative hospital care or in a hospice setting, the end-of-life doula can provide support and comfort to individuals and their loved ones.

Q: Why all the emphasis on “end of life” instead of death?

Whereas “death” names an event and “dying” a process, “end of life” describes a life stage through which everyone passes and provides a catch-all term for both death and dying.

And while “end-of-life care” (or EOLC) is a term for the health care offered to a patient upon entering the advanced stage of a terminal illness, the notion of “end of life” simply draws attention to this stage and is meant to facilitate thinking, talking about, and planning for death and dying.

Q: How does death doula support differ from hospice or palliative care?

Palliative care is a specialized kind of medical care directed at relieving pain and suffering in the context of serious illness or disease. Such care is delivered by a team of healthcare professionals and aims at improving quality of life for patients and their loved ones.

Hospice care similarly aims to manage symptoms and relieve suffering at end of life and is also administered by a team of experts, usually in a dedicated setting or context.

Death doulas do not administer palliative or hospice care directly but may be incorporated into the palliative or hospice care team at a patient or loved one’s request.

Within the context of palliative or hospice care, a doula’s main role is to support, advocate for, and provide comfort to the client or clients. A doula registered with the End of Life Doula Association of Canada must also, in this context, abide by the association’s Scope and Standard of Practice.

Q: How does death doula support differ from hospice or palliative care?

Palliative care is a specialized kind of medical care directed at relieving pain and suffering in the context of serious illness or disease. Such care is delivered by a team of healthcare professionals and aims at improving quality of life for patients and their loved ones.

Hospice care similarly aims to manage symptoms and relieve suffering at end of life and is also administered by a team of experts, usually in a dedicated setting or context.

Death doulas do not administer palliative or hospice care directly but may be incorporated into the palliative or hospice care team at a patient or loved one’s request.

Within the context of palliative or hospice care, a doula’s main role is to support, advocate for, and provide comfort to the client or clients. A doula registered with the End of Life Doula Association of Canada must also, in this context, abide by the association’s Scope and Standard of Practice for Death Doulas.

Q: What can I expect from a session with you?

Regardless of your reason for booking one, expect for a session with me to foster a supportive environment for exploring a life stage through which everyone will pass: end of life.

In my experience, the clarity these sessions provide in terms of helping a client both identify and act on their own wishes, values, and beliefs can be life-altering. It can also be a profound experience to engage in grief work in the presence of compassionate witness.

Lastly, it can be a tremendous source of relief, in session, to identify meaningful outlets for death anxiety and practices for preparing to face end-of-life, at any stage, from a place of empowerment.

Q: What should I not expect from a death doula?

As a death doula, and in accordance with the End of Life Doula Association of Canada’s Scope and Standard of Practice, I do not:

  • prepare the body following death – in BC, that is the role of the Funeral Director
  • act as Social Workers
  • end of life doulas give support, not advice
  • dispense medication of any kind
  • make diagnoses
  • take over and drive the process – they support the family’s needs
  • make assumptions about what the client or their family/friends need
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