Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Are you familiar with my doctor/hospice? Do you get along well with my caregiver?
Each of our doulas attends vigils at most of the major local hospitals and some hospice centers, though we each tend to frequent certain hospitals with our clients. We encounter doctors and nurses from many different practices, and we are able to work well alongside each of them. Our job is to support you in your experience; as such, we share the same goal as your care provider. We will not speak for you, but will help you communicate your needs and wants, and may offer suggestions of questions you may ask of your care providers. We find this helps maintain an amicable environment, and allows you to maintain control over your vigil experience.
2. When would you join me during the end-of-life process?
We plan to join our clients when we are needed most, usually once active dying has begun. Because this is different for each person, we make it a point to follow our clients' leads in letting us know when our support is needed, so open communication between client, doula and any family or support persons is extremely important. We are prepared to support you when needed, but never wish to impose our presence too soon.
3. Which comfort techniques do you tend to use with clients?
All of our doulas are trained in legacy planning, comforting touch, guided visualizations, and a variety of other techniques to help ease the transition and promote a peaceful passage. Each of our doulas brings to your vigil a "kit" filled with all sorts of helpful tools, such as massage balls, hot/cold packs, honey sticks, etc. But we rarely use these tools -- most of the time, gentle touch, encouraging words, and experienced guidance are what is needed above all else. :)
4. How would you work with and involve my partner/family/support person?
As your doulas, we work in close partnership with your partner, family, and/or any support person(s) to support you in your end-of-life experience. No one knows you better than your loved ones, so we often rely on them for guidance on how we may best support you. We also offer your loved ones the guidance and encouragement necessary to help you through this sometimes overwhelming experience, and to make informed decisions for your care as needed.
5. What's your refund policy?
It is never in the doula's scope of practice to make any decisions for you or your family regarding the outcome of your experience. We can help to facilitate communication between you and your care provider, but any such decisions are ultimately up to you and that care provider (with input as desired from your family). Along those same lines, doulas do not guarantee a particular outcome for your experience. You are hiring a doula to provide physical, mental, and emotional support during your transitional period. And we provide that support no matter what choices you and your partner/family make for the type of experience you would like to have, and no matter what medical or other situations may arise along the way. Once you have hired a doula and paid her fee, she provides unconditional support, and her fee for that service is not refundable.
We will make every effort to provide the services described here, or to have a suitable backup doula attend to you in our place if your doula is unable. Sometimes this is not possible (e.g., when things move quickly or change suddenly). If a missed vigil is due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, or your failure to call your doula, no refund will be issued. If, however, you determine by with at least four weeks' notice (i.e., in advance of a vigil) that your doula’s services are no longer needed, you may cancel the contract at that time and no further services will be offered. In that case, the retainer is kept, but no further payment is required. After 4 weeks prior to the anticipated dates of service, the full payment is non-refundable.
6. Do you have a backup arrangement in case you cannot attend my birth? Can I meet the back-up doula?
While you will have one lead doula who will be your primary point of contact, during your vigil we operate on a rotational basis as a team. We make every effort to communicate regarding which doula(s) will attend your vigil; however, mitigating circumstances sometimes arise. Because we're a group of doulas, you can rest assured that you will have appropriate coverage for your vigil.
7. May I talk to a few of your recent clients?
We would be happy to put you in touch with appropriate references.
Most important is whether you feel your doula is a good fit for you. Please be honest about this! We would much prefer to work with you if you're comfortable with us than if you're not sure, or don't want to offend us by saying so. If we are unable to support you as you need to be supported, we can refer you elsewhere.