Building Trust with Doula Clients—April Newsletter
Stepping Stones: Following a Pathway to the End of Life ~ Book Review
By Patty Brennan
Author Ellie Atherton is a hospice nurse with two decades of experience supporting families. Her new book contains stories drawn from journals she kept as she walked her own path of support. There is much that doulas can learn from Ellie in how she interacts with the families in her care. Putting aside her nursing/clinical skills, what stood out most for me were the following doula skills:
- The intention to build trust with her clients and an understanding that this takes time.
- Her willingness to respect that various family members are not always on the same page regarding end-of-life decisions and how to honor each person’s perspective.
- Her determination to be the best advocate she can be for the dying person’s expressed wishes, while respectfully walking the tightrope of loved ones’ denial, heightened emotions, and conflicts.
- Modeling how to help the dying person by honestly and bravely answering their questions about death and dying.
- And so much more!
Ellie demonstrates precisely how she manages her own emotions and interactions with all the players through a variety of scenarios, often giving us the words she used to navigate these conversations. This book has so much heart. Have a box of tissues on hand (I think I cried at the end of every story).
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