Lifespan Doula Association was founded in 2016 by Merilynne Rush and Patty Brennan. We offer professional End-of-Life Doula Training and Certification, as well as continuing education programs, resources and mentoring for doulas. In addition, we provide resources for individuals and families seeking guidance for end-of-life issues and access to end-of-life doulas. Our home base is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but we are available to bring a training to your community. We hope you find our website informative and inspirational, however if you don’t find what you are looking for, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us.

Feature of the Month

Making Your Wishes Known

Tuesday, April 18, 7-8:30 pm, 722 Brooks St., Ann Arbor. With Merilynne Rush RN and Sheryl Kurze MD. Free; $10 donation suggested
Join us for an interactive discussion and presentation about Advance Care Planning, led by two experts in the field. Do you know someone for whom medical decisions had to be made? What did you learn from that experience? Have you chosen a spokesperson or healthcare advocate? Do they understand the values and beliefs that inform your end-of-life healthcare choices? Advance Care Planning is more than filling out paperwork. We’ll explore the process, including explaining the benefits of hospice and palliative care, how to choose the person who will speak for you if you become incapacitated. Assuming your family will “know what to do” when the time comes is not a good plan. Bring a friend or your healthcare advocate.

Our Blog

self-care end-of-life doulas

Caring for Yourself While Caring for Others, Part 1 of 2

The work of being with the dying and their family is intense and can be very draining. It is essential to take good care of yourself to be sustainable. Here are some suggestions.... (1) Pay attention to your spiritual or ...
Read More

Upcoming Events

Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room
Apr 15 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room | Ann Arbor | Michigan | United States

Donec dictum, magna et congue rhoncus, turpis est commodo nisi, non maximus nunc enim et nunc. Quisque id ipsum eros. Morbi imperdiet tincidunt cursus. Etiam ultricies sodales blandit. Vestibulum faucibus massa eget quam facilisis, eget porttitor leo gravida. Morbi id pellentesque lacus. Fusce semper tempus luctus. Quisque iaculis sodales enim, eu pulvinar neque dignissim ac. Nullam cursus accumsan tellus, vel scelerisque quam vehicula id. Nunc nunc turpis, ultricies non neque at, vulputate feugiat ante. Sed porttitor, dui faucibus condimentum venenatis, neque ex pretium dolor, quis vulputate libero eros et ligula.

Making Your Wishes Known @ Center for the Childbearing Year
Apr 18 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Merilynne Rush, RN, BSN, end-of-life doula trainer, and Dr. Sheryl L. Kurze, MD, board certified hospice and palliative care physician, lead a discussion of advance directives, advance care planning and the best ways to ensure that your wishes for end-of-life care are known and respected. 82% of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing but only 23% have done it. Of those, most have not discussed their values with their healthcare advocate. We’ll discuss all this, and common problems and issues. Bring the family member or friend that you have chosen to be your spokesperson if you become incapacitated. Handouts and light refreshments provided. Free, but donations accepted to help cover costs.

Respecting Choices 1st Steps Advance Care Planning Facilitator Training @ Center for the Childbearing Year
May 16 @ 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Learn how to assist healthy adults to identify a healthcare advocate, discuss their values and wishes, and fully complete the advance healthcare planning process. Respecting Choices® is an internationally recognized, evidence-based model of Advance Care Planning (ACP). For nurses, doctors, social workers, chaplains, administrators, family members, end-of-life doulas and all healthcare professionals across the continuum of care.

Merilynne Rush is a certified Respecting Choices 1st Steps Trainer. She also teaches end-of-life doula training through Lifespan Doula Association, and how to have a home funeral and/or green burial through After Death Home Care, LLC. She is on the Washtenaw Health Initiative Advance Care Planning Committee, the Michigan Primary Care Consortium ACP committee, and the Board of the Green Burial Council.

The Doula Business Guide Workshop
May 20 @ 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
End-of-Life Doula Training @ Center for the Childbearing Year
Jun 2 @ 8:30 am – Jun 4 @ 5:00 pm

This dynamic weekend encompasses how to provide comfort and support to the dying and their family. Topics include the dying process, understanding hospice and palliative care, the doula business professional, guidelines and scope of practice, advance care planning, grief and bereavement, communication skills, self-care and more.

An end-of-life doula accompanies the dying person and their loved ones in the final days and weeks of life, providing resources, education and companionship for the dying and the caregivers. End-of-life doulas represent a new frontier in the doula profession, traditionally centered on birth and postpartum support. They are an outgrowth of recent cultural trends favoring natural death care.

This training is designed for family members and friends of the dying, hospice and palliative care workers, midwives and doulas, clergy, therapists, life coaches, and anyone who wants to prepare for their own death. It is not recommended for the recently bereaved.