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Tamara MacIntyre

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ABOUT CŌPE

  • What is the scope of practice of an End of Life doula (EOLD)?
    The essence of an EOLD is to provide non-medical, non-judgmental support and guidance to individuals and families throughout times of critical, transformational life change. In general, doulas nurture, inform, support, guide, empower and provide comfort. The support is focused on and adapted to the unique needs and requirements of each person and family they serve. The services and offerings will typically vary from doula to doula however the fundamental role of client advocacy, planning, education and support are the core components of the EOLD services.
  • When should someone hire an End of Life doula (EOLD)?
    The simplest answer is the best time to hire an EOLD is when you are ready. However, the ideal is that we explore fundamental questions and critical choices in living, illness and death when we turn age of majority or 18 years old. The reality is most people believe that hiring an EOLD happens only at the moment that death is imminent. The challenge is this is often the most difficult and emotional time to clearly decide and convey your final wishes. As an EOLD we are comitted to destigmatizing death on the front line while engaging others to appreciate and feel gratitude for our health in the present moment. Death education is part of life, albeit one that carries a lot of stigma and fear. As we age, as our parents, friends and extended family age, we become aware of the need to engage in the conversations required to ensure a good death. If you’re not sure just reach out!
  • What is ‘Advanced Care Planning’ and why/when should I consider having a plan?
    ‘ACP’, as it is more commonly known, is a process that enables individuals to make plans about their future health care. Essentially, it refers to the legal and medical documentation that can be put in place for when a person may not be in a position to make or communicate their own choices. The planning process helps adults of any age or stage of health understand and share their personal values, life goals and preferences. This can include any aspects of the future of their health, their dying and after death wishes. We can also ensure that the plans they wish to have in place are in accordance with local and national laws and jurisdictions.
  • I’m struggling with my health care team and do not feel like I have been given the opportunity to communicate what I want. Is this something you can help with?
    Yes. When our values and choices are disparate to those we love the struggle can seem insurmountable. And for those of us that do not share conventional health values the last few years have brought this struggle to the forefront. This becomes highlighted when we need to seek out medical advice or support and our consent for care is implied. Unfortunately, it has become all too uncommon that we are not given an opportunity to choose or be fully informed of all possible options. The role of the EOLD is to foster self-determination in our clients. We do this by assisting in collating information, clarifying complicated decisions and empowering you to make informed choices that are right for you and congruent with your health values. In my former role of ‘Doctor’ this was a responsibility I embraced wholeheartedly. I am extremely comfortable navigating and advocating within the broad spectrum of conventional to non-conventional health strategies and paradigms.
  • Who do I talk to when I need mediation in my family as they are having difficulty accepting my choices?
    The first step is to ensure that you have clarity on your core values that are behind your actions and your wishes. This often requires practical guidance that outlines what your values are and how this may play out in certain circumstances as it relates to your health and life. The second step, and sometimes the more difficult one, is communicating in a constructive way with family members that may not share the same values and beliefs. An EOLD will advocate for you and give you strategies and language to make requests and clarify wishes to get the support, not approval (unless approval is your goal) that you need. We can also serve as a neutral mediator within families to ensure that everyone’s perspectives are clearly communicated.
  • Are you available to sit with me during my death? Or can you recommend someone who does this?
    While this is not a service that I personally provide I may be to connect you with someone who does. The service you are looking for is called ‘sitting vigil’ and is a role that many EOLDs provide. I do work with clients to outline all of the components they wish to have in place when they are in their final transition however sitting vigil is not currently one of my offerings. I can, and do, provide community resources and assist in finding individuals in your community through my EOLD networks that can provide vigil services for clients and their family during this tender time.
  • When you say “don’t leave a mess” what do you this mean?
    On average, the closing down of a life takes about 12 months for the surviving family members to complete all of the necessary tasks required legally and practically. The more you own, the more dependents you have, the more individuals involved, the more complicated and delayed some of these matters become. It is possible to assist your loved ones in making all of this simple. Having a “When I Die” file in place with all of the necessary information like your accountant’s name, your digital information, your insurance policies etc., makes this less stressful and easy for those you leave behind. This allows those you love to bereave and grieve and not focus on all the details that remain unresolved in your absence. Yes, creating a “When I Die” file is one of the EOLD services that I provide. Remember… ultimately end of life planning is not for you… it is for those you leave behind.

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