Clark earns certificate as death doula

·2 min read

After seeing people pass away as a Personal Support Worker, Jen Clark wanted to do more to help individuals and families during these emotional times.

The Highgate woman recently received certification as a death doula to be able to provide more emotional and physical support leading up to and at the moment when a person passes away.

Clark has worked as a PSW home care provider for the past 13 years and with the palliative care team in Chatham-Kent.

“I’ve had the experience of clients passing away in my presence,” Clark said. “One was a friend of my grandfather’s, whom I remember as a kid. I took care of him for about two weeks and was with him when he passed.”

Clark said she wanted to be able to do more to help families prepare for an inevitable death as well as assist an individual with no family to die alone.

“I’ve always enjoyed the home care part of being a PSW. I’m good with people, so I thought this would be a good fit for me,” she said about her choice to become a doula.

While a doula’s role is especially vital for individuals who choose home death, Clark said they could also provide service to people in a senior or retirement home, hospital or hospice settings.

She took an online course to receive her certificate and has set up a business called ‘End of Life with Jen Clark.’

“Mainly, my role is to keep peace within the home and let the person die with dignity,” Clark said.

A death doula provides companionship to a dying individual by simply engaging in conversation, reading a book or watching TV together during their final hours.

They will also discuss end-of-life wishes, set up wills and help make funeral arrangements for those individuals without a family.

The doula will also offer support to families, assist them with wills and interment planning, and help members prepare meaningful goodbyes during the remaining hours of life.

Clark said she also continues providing PSW chores, such as laundry, cleaning, preparing meals and running errands to assist individuals and families in preparing for death.

She said in many cases, she is already working as a PSW when her services are expanded to a death doula.

In new cases, Clark says she meets with the individual and family to make sure they are compatible before she is hired.

She will continue to work as a PSW as she adds her new service.

She can be reached at 519-678-3272.

Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News