Death Doula

Adrianna has experience supporting the dying and the bereaved, assisting you and your loved ones through end of life care. She is currently a volunteer with Hospice Toronto as a one-on-one Hospice Care Companion, and bereavement & grief support worker.

Adrianna lost her brother to suicide in 2010 and his death propelled her into a journey of understanding grief and bereavement. She became a suicide prevention trainer, has her applied suicide intervention skills training ASIST, of which she has provided workshops on in Ontario and Quebec. Continuing her education she has her Grief Literacy certificates with Being Here, Human; as well as a certificate from Douglas College as an End of Life Doula. She went on to train with Hospice Toronto and completed over 40 hours of their core companion training as well as their bereavement and grief support worker training. Adrianna also shares her journey on TikTok with 9k+ followers as @LadyDeathDoula, and is a current member of The National End of Life Doula Alliance.

What is a Death Doula?

A Death Doula, or Soul Companion, or Death Walker, is someone who supports the death experience (before, during, and after) and all those involved in a care provider role. Dying is an emotional journey and can be overwhelming for the dying as well as the friends and family of the dying. The Death Doula is there to take some of that load from your shoulders, and be an extra set of hands and warm heart. They do not provide legal or medical aid.

A Death Doula’s work could look like logistical planning for the before, during, and after death; conducting rituals or comforting practices; helping the dying person reflect on their life and values; explaining the bodily functions of dying to their caregivers; providing companionship to the person who is dying and/or to the primary caregivers around them (which can be as simple as a cup of tea, doing the dishes, listening to how their day went, or escorting them to their appointments). During COVID19 restrictions, Adrianna has been able to provide Companion Care by telephone and video call, as well as creating care packages sent by post.

“What Even IS a Death Doula?” (PDF)
A slide presentation by Adrianna Prosser (with Madeleine Domingue) on what a Death Doula can do for you.

Adrianna can assist you with:

  • Companion + Respite Care
  • Swedish Death Cleaning
  • Reiki Healing
  • Grief + Bereavement Support
  • Legacy Projects
  • Rituals and Vigils
  • Advance Care Planning Support
  • Funeral Planning Support

Payment plans are negotiable, please contact Adrianna for more information. Serving the Toronto and GTA region.

In 2019 Adrianna went on an epic adventure with her friend Roberta to Disneyland. Why was it so epic? Roberta had just finished her final round of chemotherapy and this was a bucketlist celebration trip!

Adrianna was asked as a friend but also provided personal support work for Roberta on this trip; assisting in mobility issues, and things like creating hot packs from facecloths and ziplock bags… The trip went so well that Roberta booked the next trip right away: to South Korea.

Roberta had stage 4 cancer and needed a friend that understood the importance of living to the fullest while in pain and facing death. Without knowing the term Death Doula, Adrianna supported her friend at the end of her life to provide loving care and support even across the world – especially across the world – to make sure Roberta had a fulfilling end of life. From this experience Adrianna felt the pull to lean into this calling and has helped others talk, deal, and process the death and dying experience.

In 2010 Adrianna’s brother Andrew died by suicide. Adrianna’s life was forever changed. Her decade of grief, bereavement, and mourning led her to become a safeTALK trainer for suicide prevention, and earn her ASIST (applied suicide intervention skills training) to be the person you can call when you want help talking to someone who is suicidal.

From her lived experience she began to tell the story of her brother’s death and the impact it left on her life through a touring show called Everything But the Cat… a one woman show that openly talked about the first year of bereavement. It opened others to talk to Adrianna about their grief and soon she was known as the person you can talk to about the dark and uncomfortable stuff with. She calls herself Your Big Sister, and hopes that Andrew wherever he is, can see that he influenced her to become a Death Doula and help others through hard times surrounding mental health issues and death.

Columbarium niche for Andrew Prosser

Adrianna was interviewed for her volunteer work as a Hospice Care Companion with Hospice Toronto

Canadian Resources

Advance Care Planning (Ontario) (Link)
The website begins with an explanation of what ACP is and then guides you through the ACP process.  Along the way it will introduce and explain the concepts of informed consent, mental capacity and substitute decision-making. Download or ask for your free booklet to be sent in the mail.

The Eirene Guide to End of Life Planning (PDF)
Download this resource as a helpful checklist to help guide you through end of life planning.

Advance Care Planning Kit with Dying with Dignity (Link)
Helpful videos and prompts that invites you to think about and express your wishes for health care and treatment at the end of life. It is intended to provoke thinking, conversation, and planning, and to encourage communication among you, your loved ones, and your health care providers.  Download in link.

Substitute Decision Maker (PDF)
This information is intended to support you to understand the role and responsibilities of the Substitute Decision Maker (SDM). Under Ontario Law, a doctor must get consent from the patient or their SDM(s) for any health care decisions, consent does not come from a piece of paper, it must come from a person so being prepared for this role is essential. 

21 Days to Die by Linda Hochstetler (Book)
For most people with advancing diseases, there are signs that death will be soon. Diseases have many trajectories, but at a certain stage, the ceasing of life becomes certain, with a predictable sequence. At 21 days, there are usually no more treatment options with any real promise of quality of life. Death is a mystery, and we don’t want to take all the mystery away. However, there are steps we each can take to be fully, effectively present in the process, including navigating how EOL care works in Canada. This book is published in the hope that all Canadians will come to recognize these signs. Together we can share this information and be ready to welcome death when the time is right with peace of mind and no regrets.

Bereaved Families of Ontario (Link)
Bereaved Families of Ontario is a province wide organization dedicated to bereavement support through self-help and mutual aid.

Natural Burial Association (Link)
The natural burial movement began in the 1990’s and has gained momentum as more people appreciate that their connection and responsibility to the earth does not need to stop at death. Buried in a biodegradable casket or shroud, the body returns carbon and other minerals to the earth. Natural burial grounds bear no resemblance to conventional cemeteries. Rather than manicured lawns with rows of tombstones, imagine a meadow or woodland, which is restored and protected in its natural ecosystem.

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