Do I need a medical background to become a doula?

You do not need a medical background to become a doula. End-of-life doulas focus on providing emotional, informational and logistical support, as well as hands-on comfort measures for the dying and their loved ones. It is a strictly non-clinical role. That said, some of the folks who are drawn to doula training may very well be medical and hospice professionals, but it is not presumed that class participants are experts in this area. Some folks take end-of-life doula training because they want to be better prepared to help a family member or friend.

What if someone is in hospice care? How does a doula fit in?

The end-of-life doula does not replace the care of the hospice team, s/he compliments it. As anyone who has had hospice care at home knows, the interdisciplinary hospice team of doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain, aides and volunteers does their best to provide guidance and help to the patient and the family when someone is dying. But they are not there all the time. The doula, on the other hand, has time to be there, to stay for as long as the family desires, to connect with the whole family, to help them be present and to draw on their inner resources.

What are some of the things an end-of-life doula does?

This depends on the types of services each doula chooses to offer. Basically, the end-of-life doula provides companionship and guidance in whatever way a family needs. S/he may do respite care, so family members can get a break, including overnight, guide the family in identifying resources, talk about what’s to come and plan ahead, and divide up tasks. S/he can help create a ritual, keep vigil at the bedside, do errands, housecleaning, child and pet sitting, etc. The doula and the family together identify what is needed and what would be most helpful.

Are meals included?

We will provide a selection of healthy (and yummy) snacks and beverages throughout the day to keep you fueled, but full meals are not provided. You may bring a lunch with you or go out to eat during the hour lunch break each day. We have a microwave and refrigerator available for your use and a lovely little backyard patio you can enjoy when the weather is nice.

What should I bring with me to the training?

We recommend that you purchase a journal or notebook and bring it with you to class. In addition, it’s a good idea to dress comfortably and in layers as it is challenging to get a room temperature that suits everyone, including days when air conditioning is required.

Are there any pre-requisites for the doula training?

Yes. Once you register for the workshop, we will send you an email that includes the following that we ask you to complete prior to the training.

  1. Writing exercise: purchase a journal/notebook; recall your earliest thought/memory/awareness of death; write about it; bring your journal/notebook to class with you.
  2. Complete an Advanced Directive (you do not need to procure all the signatures at this time; just familiarize yourself with the process and do as much as you can towards completion). If you have already completed an AD, please review your existing AD and consider whether any changes need to be made. We suggest The Conversation Project and Five Wishes as resources for document templates.
  3. Read the End-of-Life Doula Scope of Practice.
  4. Watch “Let’s Talk about Death” TEDx Talk by Rochelle Martin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeyVx7xibQA

How much money can I make as an End-of-Life Doula?”

The answer here is complicated because it depends on a number of factors. How much value can you bring? Who is your ideal customer? What are their unmet needs? Can you create a message that speaks to them, that connects your value to their needs? How can you get your message out? What business skills do you bring to this work? Which ones will you need to learn (or get help with)? Are you willing to do the required business development and marketing? Can you be persistent in your efforts? How urgent is your need for money? The answer depends on you. That said, we can help! See our Doula Business Development supports.