Welcome!

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


Advance Care Planning Facilitator Training

Tuesday, May 16, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, 722 Brooks St., Ann Arbor. With Instructor Merilynne Rush RN , BSN. Cost $185; includes refreshments, online training modules, certification. Register here.

Respecting Choices® is a nationally recognized, evidence-based method of Advance Care Planning. In 1st Steps training, participants learn how to assist healthy adults identify a healthcare advocate, examine their values, wishes and goals, and document and share their advance directives. In addition, we discuss community engagement strategies and common barriers to completing, storing and retrieving Advance Directives and strategies to address these barriers. More info about 1st Steps, Next Steps and Last Steps on the Respecting Choices website.

For healthcare providers and staff in any setting, including social workers, administrators, nurses, physicians, and anyone who wants to know more about how to ensure their own wishes, and the wishes of their clients, are followed.

Online training modules must be completed before the workshop (4-6 hours or work). Information is sent when you register. Includes completing your own Advance Directives, and initiating a conversation with someone about ACP.

Participants who successfully demonstrate understanding of the concepts will receive a certificate and must complete 6 facilitated conversations with individuals each year to maintain certification. Mentoring is available.

Our Blog


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

Maintain good professional and personal boundaries. Sometimes we feel like chameleons, but even as we blend in, we remain separate and strong. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s not appropriate to become friends with clients, no matter how long ...
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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


May
16
Tue
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.

May
20
Sat
Advanced Business Training @ Center for the Childbearing Year
May 20 @ 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Join us for a highly interactive one-day workshop focused on taking your business to the next level. Topics include:

  • Becoming an entrepreneur
  • Cultivating abundance
  • Establishing your value
  • Acing the interview
  • Marketing on a budget ~ How to grow your business
  • Understanding marketing online ~ Websites, e-newsletters, social media and more
  • Networking effectively ~ It’s all about relationships!
  • Setting goals and other implementation strategies
  • Managing your time ~ How to fit it all in

All participants receive a copy of The Doula Business Guide Workbook: Tools to Create a Thriving Business.

Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room
May 20 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room | Ann Arbor | Michigan | United States

Join us for lively discussion about life and death led by the participants and facilitated by Merilynne Rush and Diana Cramer. The Ann Arbor Death Cafe has been meeting every month since November 2012, making us the longest standing continuously running Death Cafe in the world! For more information, please visit www.DeathCafe.com.

Jun
2
Fri
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.

Jun
17
Sat
Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room
Jun 17 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room | Ann Arbor | Michigan | United States

Join us for lively discussion about life and death led by the participants and facilitated by Merilynne Rush and Diana Cramer. The Ann Arbor Death Cafe has been meeting every month since November 2012, making us the longest standing continuously running Death Cafe in the world! For more information, please visit www.DeathCafe.com.