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Doulas taking on new role: end-of-life care - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Doulas taking on new role: end-of-life care

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NEW YORK -

Doulas aren't just for giving birth, they're now helping families through death too, and a growing number of people are learning to guide loved ones through their final days.

At 87, Anne Zinsser is a happy and healthy mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, but she knows she wont live forever. "It happens to everybody, so its okay," she said.

The retired teacher asked her daughter, Lisa Whip, to get training, so when the time comes, Lisa can help her through her final days. 

"I totally understood mom wanting to die peacefully here," Whip says. Last summer Whip took a course to become an end of life doula.

Suzanne O'Brien is an oncology nurse who now trains doulas to provide comfort and support in those final days. "It is possible to have a beautiful end of life," O'Brien said.

The doulas are often called in with hospice care, to help the patient die with dignity, and their family to let go.
They don't need a medical background, and the training course only takes a few days.

Whip says her mother is going strong. "It's a funny thing. My mom is healthier than me, and brighter of mind and spirit and body," she said.

"We're all on the same page," Zinsser said.

They both have peace of mind that Whip knows what to do when the time comes. 

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