End Of Life Doula Care

Why is the trend for EOL Doula Care growing?

Dying and death are natural and the movement to return death care to individuals, families and communities fulfills an intrinsic human need. The corporately owned funeral home industry and its funeral process has become the standardized way for us to memorialize our loved one. The funeral home gathering made formal with bits of religiosity, a eulogy that is sometimes personalized and funeral-goers who are well dressed, expressionless or quietly shedding tears are standard elements of a funeral in north America. Often this is followed by a procession to a cemetery, then tea and pastries to share grief and reconnect. The funeral of today is highly corporately owned and organized and has become the preferred norm, opposed to the healing ritual of family-led after death body care and personalized period of mourning and celebration. The absence of this role within families and amongst professionals has reminded us that nurturance, compassion, and the highest regard for human life are imperative in dying and death care. The people involved in dying and death are then empowered to transform and heal and give back to humanity an element that has been missing for almost a century. Outstanding medical care provided by competent medical care providers who are nurturing and compassionate can make a world of difference when we are overwhelmed with end of life challenges. Medical care requires more “doing” than “being”, and so only our physical/medical needs are met. This causes a gap within a wholistic model of care. Family members aren’t skilled or are simply overwhelmed with emotion to be available to “be” with loved ones. A doula’s guidance and presence meets this need and allows other care providers to focus on the tasks they are assigned. Shifting our perspective will lead us to find the best level of medical involvement in our individual end of life transition. It makes room for us culturally, to remember that death is natural and human needs while dying, and following death, includes practical, emotional and spiritual support as well as medical care. The “gap” created by shifting dying and death care predominantly out of our reach in the past century, highlighted the absence of deep transformation and true healing, leaving humanity broken hearted. End of Life Doulas show us how to regain balance.

What does End of Life Doula Care entail?

End of Life Doula Care will depend on the needs of each individual and their families. Family members and loved ones are often those who require support emotionally and spiritually. The potential loss of a loved one can cause us to face our own mortality and often we are unprepared for the onslaught of emotion and stress from the burden of caregiving. So sometimes, doulas are hired by a family member to provide support directly and/or with other family members as well. The plan of care is flexible and can change according to fluctuating needs, so it is negotiated and developed with the dying person and/or family members. An end of life doula provides non-medical personal services by way of companionship, practical, physical, social, emotional and spiritual care. They can facilitate rituals, ceremonies, celebrations, legacy projects and vigil services. They also will accompany individuals on errands however we they are not independent personal shoppers.

What if my doula is a nurse or social worker or other professional?

While doulas are non-medical supportive care workers, some may have professional training, certification and licensing in another area of practce however the knowledge and skills acquired in other such roles are not required and should not be relied on in a professional or contractual doula agreement. The scope of practice and ethics, guiding principles and values are specific to doulas when in the doula role.

End of Life Doula Certification

Who is the certification program intended for?

While the program is geared toward those who want to become an End of Life Doula, it will also appeal to individuals already working in end of life related positions in hospice, palliative or other end of life supportive care positions ie) nurses, PCNs, doctors, social workers, spiritual advisors etc. It may be of interest to those who are preparing to support their own family or friends at end of life or want to have a better overall understanding of today’s end of life issues. If you want to become acquainted with dying and death or develop your own beliefs about dying and death you will also find our program enlightening.

What education does the EOL Doula Care Certificate program include?

The history and philosophy of dying and death care, the evolution of end of life related issues, current models of care, guiding principles and best demonstrated practices will give participants the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills about the end of life doula role and how to provide care that is necessary and meaningful. We use a variety of teaching tools and media to ensure that everyone’s learning needs are met. Our goal is for each participant to be equipped for success in their pursuit of service to those who are dying and their loved ones.

If I take the certificate program for my own interest will I be required to complete quizzes, assignments, projects or exams?

Yes, theory, core competencies and best demonstrated practices are weaved into each class session but it is the combination of class participation, presentation and completion of assignments and projects that give you the best opportunity to gain knowledge and develop skills to fully understand this multi-faceted role.

What if I miss a scheduled class?

Two certificate programs will run each year and you would have the opportunity to participate in a future scheduled class session.

What are the implications of “being certified”?

There are various kinds of certificates pertaining to continuing education. Generally, an adult education certificate program takes a minimum of one year to complete. A certificate program teaches students a specific skillset or prepares students to succeed on a qualification exam. It confirms that a student has received specialized training in a field and demonstrates that a student has a good level of understanding of a specified subject or set of subjects.

Who recognizes the certificate?

Currently, the role of “doula” is not a regulated profession in Canada, however, there certainly is recognition of the necessity for doula care both in birth and death related transitions. This is a relatively new role in today’s end of life infrastructure. While there are associations which are in the beginning stages of governing the end of life doula role, as an educator and end of life doula care provider, we are collaborating with several other doula and professional organizations. Currently, we are not participating as a member of any forming doula regulatory body in Canada.

What are the advantages of doing certification with Ten Thousand Doors/CCEOLESS over another training program?

We really cannot speak to another training program or organization. We guarantee that our training is comprehensive and will provide cutting edge education and training to prepare participants to support individuals and families who are experiencing an end of life transition.

How will I use the training in my current job or career path?

End of Life Doulas generally work directly with a person and/or the family to provide supportive care services. It often is the dying person and sometimes a family member who chooses to retain end of life doula care services. It may be in a home, hospital or hospice setting. It may be part or full time or a combination of, depending on the needs of the client.

What are ways that end of life doula’s network with one another?

End of Life Doulas are receiving training worldwide and are often meeting on social media, death cafes, hospice and palliative organizations and conferences. Some education providers offer membership and there are several resources for connecting, further educational and learning opportunities, and obtaining the latest information including WHO, CINDEA, Community Deathcare Canada, Canadian Virtual Hospice, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Quality End of Life Coalition of Canada, provincial hospice/palliative care associations and the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care.

Is there a professional listing where I can add my name, qualifications and availability?

The field of end of life doula care is relatively new and there are several organizations and individuals finding ways to connect and find resource in each other. Community Deathcare Canada, CINDEA, End of Life Association of Canada all offer the opportunity to list services. In the United States the End of Life Practitioners Collective, INELDA & NEDA all provide the same opportunities.

How can I apply for the certificate program?

The application process is straightforward. Go to the Education page and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will see “click here for application”. Once you click the link, the “application and registration” form will appear. Print and complete the form and email a scanned copy to info@tenthousanddoors.com. On receipt and review of your application, we will advise you in writing, (within one week) if you have been accepted to the program. We will require you to confirm in writing, that you will be available to attend the program. At that time, your payment will be processed.

Are there payment options available?

Yes, please go to the Education page, scroll down to the bottom to “click here for application”. The “application and registration” form outlines the payment options that are available to you.

I want to attend the info sessions and/or volunteer training program. How can I register to attend?

On the EVENTS page, the date, address, time and cost are listed for each learning opportunity. Click on the one that interests you. It will take you to a link for Eventbrite (separate website). There you will be able to purchase your event ticket and receive a confirmation of your payment.

Phone: 587-410-7420


16880  -  111 Ave, Edmonton, AB, T5M 4C9


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