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Sunley Court’s Activities Coordinator Sarah-Jane MacLean talks us through her training as a soul midwife

I’ve worked here at Sunley Court for 16 years. In my role as an Activities Coordinator, I’m really lucky, I get quality time with the residents, I run activities with them and they come and talk to me, it’s so much more than what’s on paper. I began as an administrator working for seven years in the role before applying for this. This is the right fit for me completely. I have recently completed an introductory course and a master skills course to become a Soul Midwife.


Soul Midwives:


  • Listen, provide gentle therapeutic techniques and ensure compassionate care at all times
  • Work holistically with the dying person
  • Keep a loving vigil
  • Create and hold a sacred and healing space for the dying person
  • Recognise and support the individual needs of the departing person to enable a tranquil death
  • Use sound, touch, colour, scent and other gentle techniques to help alleviate pain and anxiety
  • Support families and loved ones
  • Provide support and advocacy


The course gave me an insight into what is involved with being a soul midwife and taught me skills to use at the bedside of a dying person. It was really interesting. The online course takes place over two rounds of two full days in stages.

This course taught me how to provide holistic, person-centred care at the end of life, and will help me to support someone following a life limiting diagnosis as well as learn lots of therapeutic skills to support gentle dying.

We already offer very good end of life care at Sunley Court which was recognised when we won a GSF (Gold Standard Framework) award. Attending the awards was Felicity Warner who created soul midwifery and she gave a presentation on the topic. We thought why not bring that in house? My Location Manager Kelly thought since I enjoyed compassionate caring and that I’m someone who likes to get stuck into anything it could be the right fit for me.

In my role, I work very closely with those that live here at Sunley Court and as a team we all support our residents in many ways throughout their lives here. I  have a lot of time with them, I have supported them to live well, so the last act I could do for them would be to support them through a peaceful and calm death, and to assist at their most vulnerable moment.

I believe that this training to become a soul midwife will really allow me to offer our residents the best possible support that we can. In addition, it will likely bring great comfort to both the resident and their families to receive holistic and spiritual end of life care from someone that knows and cares for them already.

I can support the hard-working care team in everything they’re doing. Someone at end of life with us requires a full team effort and we take time to be with the resident, so they don’t feel alone. What a privileged position I’ll be in to support them and their families. There’s a great support network here so there are also people to support me if I need it, and a safe space I can go to. We strive to offer our residents the most compassionate care we can in both life and death and limiting the need to outsource the support can only be a positive to our residents.