The demand for certified end-of-life doulas is increasing worldwide. An aging population, increases in cancer and chronic illness, a huge shortfall in properly staffed Palliative care facilities, along with hospitals not able to maintain appropriate staffing levels, leaving many health systems around the world in crisis mode. With excess deaths now at levels over 20% above the baseline in many countries the demand for Death Doulas has never been greater.
In the USA over 50% of people nearing the end of their time in this world are choosing to pass at home.
- Some Background on Death Doulas
- Things to Consider Before becoming an End-of-life Doula
- What Training is Available for Death Doulas
- Who Manages IAP's Death Doula Course?
- What you can expect to learn in an End-of-Life Doula Course?
- What a Death Doula Online Course will Not Teach You.
- How do End-of-Life Doulas find work?
- Are End-of-Life Doulas (really), in Demand?
- How much do End-of-life doulas get paid?
- Is it a Requirement for Death Doulas to be Certified?
- A Word on Eold Self Care
- Government Licencing for Death Doulas.
- Choosing a Reputable Training Provider.
- Pros of IAP College include
- A Free Helpful E-Book for you.
Some Background on Death Doulas
Commonly thought of as the domain of Palliative care nurses and Priests.
As an occupation it is almost an underground career.
The common understanding is, Death Doulas give comfort and have open conversations with dying people and their family members.
But it is much more than that.
The dying process comes in various forms.
Some will pass peacefully, others will pass suffering great physical or emotional pain
It is the end-of-life doula’s task to help them pass from this place to the other with less fear and more love.
Things to Consider Before becoming an End-of-life Doula
There are going to be times when the dying process is distressing and emotional, so some personalities are not going to be suited to this profession.
You are the one providing empathy and strength and this can be challenging for many people.
Some cultures are very comfortable with dying and death and treat it as a part of living.
Western culture is different.
If you are someone whose emotions rise to the surface quickly, this occupation is probably not for you.
Disclosure:- This site has an affiliation with IAP Career College and should you purchase something from a link I may receive a small payment at no cost to you. I am not an employee of any company mentioned and all opinions expressed here are mine and are not representative of any company.
What Training is Available for Death Doulas
Although death doulas have been around for eons it remains a largely unregulated profession.
Talking about regulations, recent revelations in some media tell us that society is also pushing for greater transparency of Hospices and their practices. Related Article Here
One company that is helping people gain accreditation, with affordable courses and access to expert tutors, helping lift the standards in this industry is the International Association of Professions Career College (IAP).
These days with so many people (50%+), choosing to spend their final days at home, close family members will want to know that the doula they hired is a professional who knows what the work entails and can be trusted to do the right thing.
IAP college is one of the very few colleges that have been offering an End of Life Doula Online Certification course for a lengthy period of time.
Alternatively, If you have experience as a Death Doula you may qualify for Professional Certification or Master Certification. Life experiences that may count towards professional certification include: self-employment, volunteer work, continuing education, mentoring, and more.
See the details Here.
Who Manages IAP’s Death Doula Course?
Deborah Toole is IAP’s faculty member for death doula and end of life doula courses.
Deborah graduated from University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
She has been a registered nurse for 30 years with specialities in Hospice, and community end of life education.
Deborah has two Doula certifications and teaches LPN students at a local community college.
Essentially the courses have similar content, but the student can only select one or the other. Not both.
As well these courses have been updated to keep pace with societal changes and modern care methods.
Also, they are one of the few courses that include care for people who are about to or have lost a pet or a much-loved animal.
My recommendation would be to take the End of Life Death Doula Certificate course.
The End-of-Life Doula course was one of the best online study programs I have encountered. There was an extensive amount of professional information from leading women in this new field! This IAP course included many experts’ opinions and suggestions. That was truly wonderful to see! This is also a reference that I will keep throughout the rest of my new career.Eric Lapensee, Sudbury, Ontario Canada:
You can go at your own pace and have plenty of guidance at succeeding on the exam. At any point you may also ask your instructor questions. I thought this course was truly amazing!
What you can expect to learn in an End-of-Life Doula Course?
The subject covers a broad scope of areas related to dying.
Most courses have a similar set of lessons related to the day-to-day functions of a death doula and some have additional classes that probe deeper into areas of spirituality and self-care.
All courses (of course), come at different price points.
The IAP course includes text materials at no additional cost.
At the end of the course, your mind should be open to eliminate the silence around death-related topics, decrease the anxiety surrounding death, and dismantle the foundation of inequality, racism, and social marginalization at end of life.
The IAP lessons also include logistical planning for the times before, during, and after death.
Essentially Eolds help their patients map out their deaths, by talking to them about their wishes, their life, and how they would like to spend their last days.
At the end of the course you should be able to provide non-judgmental support, and play an important role to those nearing the end of their time in this world.
Other various tasks expected of an end-of-life doula, can include everything in the list below.
- Provide educational information to patients and families about the stages of dying
- Provide non-biased emotional support for the dying and their loved ones
- Employ hands-on care techniques to keep the dying as comfortable as possible, while not interfering with, or providing medical support or care.
- Knowing when to take control of a situation or step back from a situation.
- Offer spiritual support in a manner that aligns with the client. Not your personal beliefs
- Be a guide in navigating end-of-life planning and paperwork.
- Provide grief resources and education.
- Maintain a list of referrals to appropriate community organizations and care providers
- Offer neutral, supportive encouragement to clients as they get their personal affairs in order – including being an empathetic companion as they make their final amends
- Be available for practical help such as driving to appointments handling household chores. If you have some knowledge of aquarium maintenance you may find it extremely useful.
There is a lot involved, which may also include any or all of the following.
- Those facing the loss of a pet or beloved animal.
- Conducting rituals or comforting practices
- Helping the dying person reflect on their life and values.
- Helping them to complete projects that establish their legacy (transcribing their thoughts and memories into a journal or book for example).
- Explaining the bodily functions of dying to caregivers.
What a Death Doula Online Course will Not Teach You.
Death doulas are expected to be patient advocates, homemakers/respite providers, biographers, commemoration/eulogy planners, grief/loss supporters.
Fair enough the text books will give you an overview on most of those things
What none of the online courses can do is give you hands on experience across different personalities, family dysfunction, late night /early morning calls for medical help, dealing with pets.
That can only come from experience. The school of hard knocks type of experience.
The most important thing is to aware of your limits and respect your boundaries.
How do End-of-Life Doulas find work?
For those who choose to work for themselves, the options include…
? Being hired by agencies or relatives of the elderly.
? Hired by retirement and nursing homes
? They can also be hired by people who are not near death but want to wrestle with and confront their mortality.
There could be situations like this where the doula is hired as a carer.
On another level, death doulas can provide death education to the general public, teaching topics like hospice care, palliative medicine, and death rituals.
Are End-of-Life Doulas (really), in Demand?
Though it is not uncommon for a family member to act as a doula for a dying relative, there is still a demand for Eolds, largely due to the way society has changed over the years.
According to some reports, the demand for how we care for and provide emotional support for the dying, seemed to develop more of a focus in the last 20 years, particularly after 9/11.
Since then more people have realized the value and power of humanitarian work.
Covid showed us that health systems are nowhere near up to scratch.
Hospitals, Hospices, and Aged care homes are short on staff and unable to provide the proper support required for dying patients (as mentioned above).
People who should have been in palliative care were put in nursing homes with no facilities for their care.
Worse! no family was allowed to visit them.
Video calls didn’t cut it!
One of many despicable situations the elderly found themselves in.
Now, there is a push to do death differently.
Increasingly, (and who can blame them), many people are choosing to die at home.
Eolds now play an increasingly important part in the dying process, either in mainstream settings such as hospitals or hospices, working for the dying person’s family, or working in conjunction with medical professionals who are visiting patients at their homes.
How much do End-of-life doulas get paid?
This is a frequently asked question.
Many doulas earn a good full-time living in this important field, while others choose a slower pace.
Some are Freelancers and set their own rates.
Doulas can also be employed by Hospices and agencies on a daily or weekly rate.
Depending on the needs of the client, a freelancer’s hourly rate can range from $30 to over $100 an hour.
Near the end of the IAP course, there is a module devoted to setting rates.
Essentially, once you have completed the course it is your choice as to how much work you take on and the fees you charge.
Is it a Requirement for Death Doulas to be Certified?
Short answer. No.
Presently so far as I am aware, there are no statutory educational prerequisites or requirements to become a death doula.
You don’t need prior training in any field in order to be an Eold.
However, agencies that hire or recommend Eold’s to funeral homes, hospices, hospitals, and aged care homes, will want to know that the person they hire/recommend, has a broad-based knowledge of the position and understands the responsibilities that are required of them.
So having qualifications from a reputable institution, does help the person seeking employment in this field.
If you choose to work in a private capacity, having a certificate will give your clients confidence that you are a professional who takes their job seriously.
You can complete the End of Life Doula Certificate course online from the comfort of your own home. It is affordable and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. Click the link for Pricing and how to get started. IAP Death Doula Course
A Word on Eold Self Care
Seeing people transition from life to death can be challenging, and can take its toll, mentally and emotionally.
One thing a death doula does need is self-care and lots of it. If you crash emotionally then you are of no use to anyone.
So it is helpful to maintain a practice of mindfulness and serenity for your well-being.
This sense of serenity and being at peace with yourself will likely flow to the one about to pass.
Any reputable training course should have self-care included somewhere in their training and IAP does.
We know nurses are tough.
They get in and do the work, and if doesn’t end well, they find a quiet spot to shed a few tears after their work is done.
It requires courage and strong mental resilience to back up and do it again, and again.
I have noticed many death doulas (and nurses), with Reiki qualifications.
I did a small article on Reiki that attracted a really good comment.
It was an eye-opener for me.
Also, other health professionals are members of a mind training group called Mindvalley University.
It is a fascinating resource actually. I have an article on it here.
But I digress… back to the present.
Practicing self-care will likely be a life-long thing for a doula.
It is a matter of finding one that works for you, whether it be Reiki, looking after an aquarium or some other method.
Aquariums have good research to show they have many beneficial qualities for relieving stress, and clearing your mind.
So while some cynics may call it daydreaming, sitting and watching the antics of fish in an aquarium does have scientific research that backs up all the beneficial qualities of having an aquarium.
As with all things living, there is a bureaucracy involved. Let’s take a look.
Government Licencing for Death Doulas.
At the moment there is no specific requirement to be licensed. This may not apply everywhere of course.
Currently, many hospices and agencies are asking that death doulas be certified or be able to show proof of training.
If you are going to register yourself as a sole trader or LLC then…We know bureaucrats love certificates.
So, having a certificate will tick a box on any paperwork you may have to fill out.
Being able to include the modalities studied will tick a few more.
This will make the transition through the bureaucracy a little smoothe
Then, on the business side…
If you are applying for a bank loan for your business, a professional certification will go a long way to showing you are serious about your business.
Seriously though, the most important thing is what you can offer clients. if you have all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed then you can get on with doing what you are trained for.
I am sure you would want to know that the person looking after your father/mother is capable, honest, and a total professional.
If your client asks a question or questions, you have answers.
Real ones, not BravoSierra.
To put it all in a nutshell, the most important reason for having an end-of-life doula certification is to know your duties, how to perform them in a professional manner, how to take care of yourself and be successful at what you do.
If a course has business modules, then knowing how to manage a business in a specialized field and earn a decent living is not a bad thing.
Choosing a Reputable Training Provider.
Typical of the internet, you are going to see “free end-of-life doula training” or maybe “death doula training online free”, or something similar.
I did another article recently looking at death doula training across a few countries.
I found Twelve I would have faith in across 4 countries. This has since been reduced to 11 as one of them asked that I remove their review while they updated their training and business structure.
A couple of them seemed to be trying hard to please bureaucrats and others strayed from the focus of the doula’s tasks into mindfulness.
It comes with the territory I guess.
There were a few other courses that looked ok, but very expensive, and some that looked more like bait. Where they offer “carrots” to get you in and then upsell you to the “real course”, which upsells you to the “really, really good course”
The cost of these varied anywhere from Free -$3,000.00+
What I liked most about the IAP course is you can do it at your own pace, it includes business and self-care tools, and is relatively inexpensive.
“The IAP Death Doula Course” is very reasonably priced and there is a payment schedule if you need one.
Pros of IAP College include
- Access to a Faculty Member to provide you with personal teaching assistance and business advice.
- Textbook: IAP Career College Guide to Become a Death Doula (e-book edition)
- Business Planning
- You can study and complete assignments at a time that suits you from the comfort of your home.
- You can complete the course in as little as 30 days, or extend it past the time allotted.
It is hard to find any. A 4.9-star rating out of 5, might explain that.
I have other reviews on IAP and so far as I can find it has received 5 complaints over 7 years and all were resolved. Related article here
What is The International Association of Professions Career College
What if the Registration Fee is More Than I can pay at once?
Is Death Doula a real job?
The job of a doula is to help during a large life-changing moment. Death doulas assist dying people with logistical planning and emotional preparation for death — and are often one of the last few people in the room helping with the transition from life to death.
Are IAP certificate courses accepted outside North America?
You can complete the End of Life Doula Certificate course online, from the comfort of your own home. It is affordable and has a 30 day money back guarantee. Click the link for Pricing and how to get started. IAP Death Doula Course
End-of-life doulas hope to bring comfort and peace to the very last seconds of every person’s time in this world. Words to describe you may include: brave, gifted, intuitive, and compassionate. You may feel called to do this work.IAP College.
A Free Helpful E-Book for you.
Grief is an intricate emotion, often likened to a journey through a maze with its unique twists, turns, and challenges. Though everyone’s experience with grief is personal, there are shared elements that many encounter.
By understanding these aspects and equipping oneself with coping mechanisms and supportive environments, it’s possible to find meaning, healing, and even growth in the face of loss.
You can get the e-book by clicking here or by clicking on the image.
Thanks for reading.
As always feel free to leave any comments or experiences in the comment box below.