End of Life Doula Training- Finding The Right Fit

Dear Barbara, can you recommend a resource to educate me on how to become a private EOL practitioner?

About EOL training? I'm taking that to mean end of life doula training. There are many groups offering training. 

I would suggest doing a Google search and start contacting different programs to find the "fit" for you. Also look through the members of NEDA (The National End of Life Doula Alliance) and INELDA (International End of Life Doula Association).

Interview many.  Do a zoom interview before you make any decision. Ask many questions. You will be committing time and money so you want to be sure it is a personality fit. We are not just talking about an online course. We are talking about commitment and extensive, authentic knowledge to be acquired. Find the personality and content that matches your direction. 

Since at this time there are no “standards of practice” or even standards for the content given in end of life training, think about what you are looking to provide. What do you want to receive from the course you are searching for? 

Since there are no certification course requirements to call yourself an end of life doula here are my thoughts on what to look for in a course. 

* Content (comprehensive detailing of signs of approaching death, moment of death and grief); what happens and what to do while it is happening.

* Communication skills

* Actual how to (positioning, oxygen, nutrition, hydration), 

* Advanced directives, 

* Funeral planning, 

* Spiritual support, 

* Self care

* Ongoing class support. I think this is very important. You want a program that has continued in-services and support. 

You want to look at the personality of the leader of the program. Is it a personality fit for you? You want to have an ongoing relationship with your leader. You do not want it to stop when class is over. Make your own list, what do you want to learn?

I've just scratched the surface of questions to ask, but hopefully this will get you started. 

Something More about...  End of Life Doula Training~ Finding the Right Fit

End of Life Doula trainers I work with educate their doulas with my film NEW RULES for End of Life Care, The Final Act of Living and End of Life Guideline Series

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Can you recommend a book guiding a new hospice volunteer (me) with spiritual support to a dying person whose views are very different from my own?
BK Books replied:
Hi Virginia, I do not have a book to recommend that tells you how to support a patient with spiritual views other than your own. BUT I can tell you what I think. A person doesn’t have to believe what we believe to support them in their journey. As a volunteer, or as a professional, our spiritual views are our own and kept to ourselves. We do not share them with patients or their families. If you can’t do that then you are in the wrong job. We support others in their belief system no matter what we believe. It is not about us. If a patient were to ask outright “What do you believe spiritually” (most won’t) you respond “This is not about me and what I believe. What do you think happens? What do you believe” The conversation is started as they sort out their beliefs and you listen. You do not add “Have you ever thought about this?” That is the job of clergy. At that point you suggest they are having questions and thoughts that a chalain could help with. Can you make the contact?" End of life work is sacred work. Every one’s belief is sacred. Blessings! Barbara


Hi, I think a resource that needs to be added here is needed is a clinical residency to be an end of life doula and training in spiritual support as well for all faiths, no faiths etc. Having been an hospice chaplain with clinical training in death and dying I think that knowledge is vital to best support family and the dying patient.
BK Books replied:
Hi Nettie, you make an excellent point. Spiritual support as well as learning how to work with people without spiritual ideology is important and part of working with end of life. I like your idea of a residency, on the job training. Blessings to you in the work you are doing. Barbara

Dana Jones

I had the pleasure of seeing you speak about 20 years ago. I worked as hospice RN for 20 years at BJC hospice in St. Louis. I probably know, “Gone From My Sight”, word for word. It was the most helpful book ever. I am considering being a Doula. I truly understand the EOL. I loved the hospice job but not the on call.
My question, is New Rules for End of Life care available on line?
Thank you.
BK Books replied:
Hi Dana, call Jackie or Joie in our office 360-828-7132 and they can give you the details of getting New Rules on line. Thanks for asking. Blessings to you in the work you are doing. Barbara


And “all different” indeed. Although there is a general outline to all…
I’ve found some that were focused on making money, while others seemed very holistic and integrative and also quite a few focused more on after-death work. A few were professional colleges, many were training programs that had many mixed subjects with many Instructors and yet others are completely self-study. Some were focused on communities of color, disatvantaged and homeless, another was heavy in comfort modalities, while another talked more about the “toolbox” end of it.

BK Books replied:
Hi Dolly, I know, there are so many approaches a person really needs to do their “homework” before making a choice. Blessings! Barbara


Very helpful information. Thank you!

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