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Becoming an End-of-life Doula Might Be Your Last Next Career

Written By: Keri-Lynn Turney

Sacred Departure, sacreddeparture.com


Much has been said about what there is to learn from the last year’s tragedies and triumphs, but one thing is clear: we must adapt. Businesses—even those around for decades—have crumbled, dissonance has caused large-scale unrest and many of us have lost loved ones. These events have given us pause to consider our lives, to re-evaluate what is important, and in a large number of cases, given us no choice but to start over. Few high-demand careers can be pursued without significant cost and without years-long upfront training AND offer a sense of fulfilment at the same time.


Luckily, a career as a Certified End-of-Life Doula offers all three.


So just what is an end-of-life doula?

End-of-life doulas (EOLD), sometimes called death doulas, are similar to birth doulas in that they are trained to provide non-medical holistic support for clients and their families. They offer:

  • information to educate patients and families about stages of dying
  • help in navigating available resources so the client can make informed choices
  • non-biased emotional support for the dying and their loved ones
  • hands-on techniques to keep the dying as comfortable as possible
  • spiritual support without pushing the doulas own beliefs
  • assistance with end-of-life planning and paperwork
  • grief resources and education
  • referrals to appropriate community organizations and care providers
  • encouragement to get affairs in order as well as make amends
  • practical help such as driving to appointments and household chores


IDLM's Core Values

Lead By Example

Respect the Individual

Patients & Clients First

Act with Integrity

5 reasons why you should become an end-of-life doula

1. We have an aging population.

While an EOLD can work with people of all ages, an older population means there are more people towards the end of their lives that could benefit from the help of a doula. According to a report on aging by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (New York, 2017):

“Globally, the number of persons aged 80 years or over is projected to increase more than threefold between 2017 and 2050, rising from 137 million to 425 million.”

2. The training is affordable.

While a college degree can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, EOLD training is affordable. Programs generally run $700 USD and up, with many sitting around the $1000 - $2000 mark. Even though these costs are relatively low compared to many training programs, International Doula Life Movement's Founder and Lead Instructor, Anna Adams, saw the need to create courses with a lower cost and open up the industry to even more students.

Adams (who also owns Savior Doula Services) has over 20 years of experience in hospice and elder care, as well as 10 years of care for high acuity patients.

Our classes are not just affordable but we offer resources, support, and cutting-edge training in the fields of Doula Companion Care, Doula Life Planning, and End of Life Doula support.

"I realized that so many potential students have the heart to be amazing end-of-life doulas. There are simply not enough affordable options to earn a certificate and gain the knowledge to best serve clients."

- Anna Adams, IDLM Founder

International Doula Life Movement (IDLM) classes run for $499.97 for live classes (with a Q & A session at the end of each class), $599.97 for self-paced training. While this industry is still fairly new and as such is not regulated, core training and ongoing continuing education classes are strongly recommended by the International End-of-Life Doula Association and other widely accepted industry organizations.

Through IDLM's "Continuing the Movement" program, alumni of our program receive one free continuing education class per month, as well as discounts on other opportunities for learning. For those looking to start their own practice, a free Business 101 course after you graduate helps set you up you understand the necessary basics.

3. The opportunities are unlimited.

EOLDs find work with hospice companies, home health, and private clients. Many start their own businesses and specialize in essential areas, such as bereavement, end-of-life paperwork, community education, vigil services, and legacy work.

This work can be done anywhere in the world, including over the Internet through communications apps such as Zoom and Skype.

4. No medical background is necessary.

Many EOLDs are nurses and have experience in hospice settings. Still, because an end-of-life doula’s role is supportive and not medical, no extensive medical training is required. EOLDs do not administer medication, take vital signs, or provide medical advice.

 

In fact, doulas support other health care providers by filling the gap that organizations like hospice just can’t fill.

“They just don't have the time to really stay with family for a long period. We are allowed to spend unlimited time with patients and provide vigils for the family, so they do not have to go through this alone,” Adams explains.

 

“I have seen first-hand that in today's healthcare, many providers have a higher ratio of patients and need doulas to be their eyes and ears.”

5. Assisting those nearing the end-of-life is rewarding.

End-of-life doulas offer non-judgemental support and encourage their clients to make informed choices for their end-of-life care and wishes. Doulas can help take the fear out of dying and death, and aim to return death to the sacred transition it is meant to be. They can ease the suffering of those experiencing anticipatory and early grief. Clients are encouraged to find meaning in their lives as well as say their goodbyes.

So is this for you?

Maybe more than you think! Doula training offers a well-rounded foundation in assisting those facing one of life’s toughest chapter. International Doula Life Movement offers modules in areas such as stages of care, parental loss and pediatric hospice, stages of grief, common diseases infection control, home wakes/funerals and green burial options, as well as world religions. Our instructors even ensure that you're prepared for the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA) Proficiency Assessment.

Adams says doulas just need “a loving heart and the willingness to be an advocate for patients and their families.” She adds that EOLDs need to be proactive, willing to go “that extra mile, and have a heart to serve their community.”

International Doula Life Movement classes are not just affordable but also offer resources, support and cutting-edge training in the fields of Doula Companion Care, Doula Life Planning, and End of Life Doula support.

If you're interested in becoming a student, click the button below.

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