Hi, I’m Nancy and founder of HELD – Holistic End of Life Doula.
Doing this work is a real calling.
And I heard and felt that calling very clearly in 2018 as I read an article about a Death Walker in Australia. Looking back I believe the calling had been there for many, many years but I failed to recognise or acknowledge it. Was my work in children’s hospices and then, years later when my laughter work took me into adult hospices the universe giving me a little nudge?
After reading this article I felt a tangible stirring inside – a feeling that this was what I was meant to be doing. I began to do a little research and explored my options in training. I then undertook The End of Life Doula course developed and delivered by The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont which included 80+ hours of training. The course is headed by the wonderful Francesca Arnoldy – author of Cultivating The Doula Heart and is supported by highly experienced End of Life Doulas, plus Robert E Gramling who is a Palliative Medicine Physician, Associate Professor and Research Director and Nina J Thompson – founder of Wake Up to Dying Project.
The training was comprehensive, deep and reflective and brought a realisation in me that the doula was already within me. Being a doula isn’t something that I do or something that is separate from me – it is part of who I am.
I am able to bring together my experiences of working as a Meditation Teacher, Compassionate Touch and Cuddle Therapist, Laughter Yoga Teacher, work in adult social care and as a member of the Care Team in two Children’s Hospices caring for children with life shortening illnesses and their families. Since 2015 I have shared laughter in several of West Yorkshire’s Hospices including Kirkwood in Huddersfield, Overgate in Halifax, Forget Me Not in Huddersfield and at Wheatfield’s in Leeds as well as in various residential care homes and for support groups. My experience enabled me to developed a training program specifically for Laughter Yoga Professionals to compassionately take their laughter skills into hospices. Doula work requires refined skills in holding space and deep listening which are also a necessary part of my work in Compassionate Touch and Cuddle Therapy. In fact, deep, attentive listening is probably the single most important skill in this line of work.
Alongside my other work I currently also support my local children’s hospice on the bank care team in Huddersfield helping them when they need an extra member of staff.
I am insured, hold a current DBS certificate and have an up-to-date First Aid at Work Certificate. I also hold certificates in Safeguarding, Equality, Diversity & Human Rights and Dignity in Care.
My End of Life Doula services are tailored specifically with you in mind. Although our basic human needs are all the same your individuality will enable you to create something personal and incredibly special. Take a look around my website and if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me. Check back later for new updates to the website.