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. The trainings listed here take place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our home base. For more information on how to bring us to you, please contact us.

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 member of Lifespan Doulas (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 Doulas 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.


Training Schedule & Fees

2019 End-of-Life Doula Training Workshops

Fee $610; $550 if paid in full by Early Bird Date

Workshop Content for End-of-Life Doula Training

  • 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
  • Values clarification for doulas
  • After death care (including an overview of home funeral and green burial)
  • Grief and bereavement support
  • End-of-life doula practice considerations
  • Self-care for doulas and other caregivers

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

What Makes Us Different?

Why train with Lifespan Doulas?

Top value at an affordable price!

end-of-life doula trainingThanks for visiting us! We understand that you are searching for the right fit. When the time is right for an idea or a movement, it manifests. Hence the number of end-of-life doula training programs, along with folks interested in the doula role, is growing exponentially on both national and international levels. This is a good thing for all of us! It is how we will achieve critical mass over time until doulas are mainstreamed into the end-of-life care continuum. However, the growth of accessible options can present a challenge for the consumer (you?) who is attempting to thoughtfully compare training programs. So, let us speak to what we believe to be unique about our program and what we think differentiates us from other programs. While price may be an important consideration in your decision, it should not be the primary determining factor.

  • Learning environment. We offer a premium service, limiting the number of workshop participants to 24 and offering the training in our cozy Ann Arbor center which is optimized for doula trainings. This is very different from an impersonal hotel conference room designed to accommodate very large groups. We believe a more intimate and interactive classroom experience is best suited to our subject matter. Take a short tour of our facility.
  • Mentoring/Post-training support. We provide ongoing mentoring and opportunities for people who train with us and become members of Lifespan Doulas. This means that you will have support going forward as you begin to integrate what you learn and shape your practice. In turn, we learn from you and the variety of creative directions you take the work into the world. Win/Win.
  • Expertise. Two expert instructors co-teach the workshop, which keeps it very dynamic. Each of us plays to our strengths, pulling on over 35 years’ experience serving families. In addition, we are adult education specialists. This means that you are going to get a wide variety of learning activities and teaching methods over the three-day training, not just lecture and storytelling. Our training is skill based. Read more about about the visionaries behind Lifespan Doulas.
  • Broad interpretation of the role of the doula. Our curriculum is solidly based in a deep understanding and appreciation of the doula model of care rather than simply adapting the doula role to fit into the hospice model of care. For our part, the doula role is first and foremost, while the setting where services are delivered is secondary. Therefore, doulas may be attending to folks within the context of hospice, or not, and services can start anytime after initial diagnosis. Certainly doulas can sit vigil with a person who is dying, if that is what the family wants, or encourage engagement with a legacy project, but families need so much more as they navigate the final weeks and days of life. In our view, the doula can provide support services for unmet needs, hospice gaps, post-death choices, bereavement, and more! Read more about the doula role.
  • Doula business development support. In addition to offering EOLD trainings, Patty Brennan has been a birth and postpartum doula trainer (affiliated with DONA International) for 20 years and is the author of The Doula Business Guide, a book that has been integrated into many doula training organizations’ required reading lists. Patty is an expert at helping folks who are new to self-employment begin to embrace the creative process of launching a doula practice. Knowledge and experience with end-of-life issues and good support skills are essential, but knowing how to turn your expertise into a sustainable business is a unique skill set. Cultivating the required mindset, an overview of small business development, and tips for getting started are integrated into our core training with a variety of additional supports available post training.

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 150-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.

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

“I came to this training with no understanding of the end-of-life doula role. Merilynne and Patty provided a comprehensive, well-paced and interactive training that prepared me. I applaud the time and thought it took to create this excellent training.” — Louise Bedard, Ann Arbor, MI

“To be honest, at first I was reluctant to pay the money for this. I’m already a death doula through another facility, but still didn’t feel ready to jump in and do it. The more I read the more my heart said “do it” so I did. WOW!!!!! It was worth every penny and a bargain at that! The instructors were so knowledgeable and willing to share it. I felt like I left the weekend class ready to move forward in a positive way. I love that they are offering to mentor and support the doulas outside of the classroom. No hesitation now about taking more training from Lifespan Doulas!!” — Sally van Osch, Indianapolis, IN

end-of-life doula training