End-of-Life Doula TrainingBecoming an End-of-Life Doula

This dynamic three-day End-of-Life Doula Training Workshop encompasses how to provide comfort and support to the dying person and their loved ones in the final days and weeks of life. Doulas provide resources, education and companionship for the dying and their caregivers as they fill in gaps in hospice care and medical support systems. 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.

There are two paths you can take …

Become a professional End-of-Life Doula

  1. Start with the three-day End-of-Life Doula Training Workshop (see below).
  2. Join our public Facebook group.
  3. Become a Lifespan Doula Association (LDA) member (among other benefits, this will give you access to monthly webinars and a Members Only Facebook page, providing ongoing mentoring support as you engage your next steps).
  4. Complete the Lifespan Doula Association certification process.
  5. Access a variety of tools and classes (online and in-person) to assist with Doula Business Development.
  6. Consider enhanced training including our Advance Care Planning Facilitator Training and Home Funeral and Green Burial Workshop.

For hospice volunteers or personal enrichment

  1. Complete our three-day End-of-Life Doula Training Workshop (see below).
  2. Join our public Facebook group.
  3. Consider taking our Home Funeral and Green Burial Workshop if this is something you would like to facilitate for others.



2018 Training Schedule & Fees

End-of-Life Doula Training Workshop

Fee $565; $515 if paid in full by ERD

Workshop Content for End-of-Life Doula Training

Covered topics include the following:

  • What is a “good death”?
  • Exploring the dying process
  • The needs of the dying and the family
  • Biopsychosocial-spiritual-cultural aspects of end-of-life support
  • The role of the doula and the doula model of care
  • Accompanying the dying (vigiling at the bedside, creating a peaceful atmosphere)
  • Understanding hospice and palliative care
  • Scope of practice for end-of-life doulas
  • Working with the hospice team
  • Active listening and communication skills
  • Family needs assessment
  • Hands-on, non-medical comfort measures, aromatherapy and more
  • Creating a ceremony
  • Supporting the caregivers (and doula self-care practices)
  • Values clarification for doulas
  • Introduction to Advance Care Planning
  • After death care (including home funerals and green burial)
  • Grief and bereavement support
  • End-of-life doula practice considerations

Who will benefit from End-of-Life Doula Training?

  • Anyone who wants to become a professional end-of-life doula
  • Hospice volunteers and others wanting to serve
  • Family members and friends of the dying
  • Hospice and palliative care providers
  • Midwives and doulas
  • Nurses and doctors
  • Social workers
  • Clergy, chaplains, celebrants
  • Healers and therapists
  • Those who provide home care and companion care
  • Life coaches

Teaching Methods

The instructors, Merilynne Rush and Patty Brennan, are adult education specialists with decades of teaching experience. The interactive classroom experience includes a blend of discussion, partner and small group exercises, lecture, PowerPoint presentation, videos, role plays, case studies, brainstorming, personal reflection and more.

Read what past participants in this class have to say.

“This training far exceeded any expectations. The role playing, the exercises, the case story challenges and the general class materials you presented were all rolled into a beautifully cohesive package.” — Pat Deardorff, Ann Arbor, MI

“Patty Brennan and Merilynne Rush are two of the most inspiring, knowledgeable and compassionate instructors I have met. This was a great training and I am excited to share it with the world. I am home!” — Sarah Gregory-Ferguson, Lansing, MI

“I feel honored and blessed to be a part of this training. I’ve learned much more about being a doula with this course and it has been one of the most profound experiences in my life.” — Rhonda Anderson-Stimson, Monroe, MI

“What a wonderful, informative and inspiring workshop! So professionally done and engaging and I am so excited to take this important information to heart and see where it all takes me. Thank you!” — Jodi Hughes, Dexter, MI


end-of-life doula training

Please Note

This training is designed for folks who want to support those who are dying and their loved ones. We are not a grief support group. We respectfully ask that if you have suffered a loss within the year prior to this workshop that you consider waiting before engaging this work. Likewise, if you personally have a life-limiting illness and are seeking to learn more about the dying process, this training is not designed for you. If in doubt, please contact us to discuss your situation prior to registering.


What’s included in the fee for this training?

The 130-page Class Manual, shown above, is included. We will provide a selection of healthy snacks and beverages throughout the day, but full meals are not provided. There will be an hour lunch break each day and participants are welcome to bring their lunch and eat at the Center or go out to lunch. We are just a mile from downtown Ann Arbor and there are many places from which to choose. We have a refrigerator and microwave available for those who bring food with them.

Registration Information

Refund policy, payment options and more.

Lifespan Doula Association