Building Trust with Doula Clients—April Newsletter

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Stepping Stones: Following a Pathway to the End of Life ~ Book Review

By Patty Brennan

Author Ellie Atherton is a hospice nurse with two decades of experience supporting families. Her new book contains stories drawn from journals she kept as she walked her own path of support. There is much that doulas can learn from Ellie in how she interacts with the families in her care. Putting aside her nursing/clinical skills, what stood out most for me were the following doula skills:

  • The intention to build trust with her clients and an understanding that this takes time.
  • Her willingness to respect that various family members are not always on the same page regarding end-of-life decisions and how to honor each person’s perspective.
  • Her determination to be the best advocate she can be for the dying person’s expressed wishes, while respectfully walking the tightrope of loved ones’ denial, heightened emotions, and conflicts.
  • Modeling how to help the dying person by honestly and bravely answering their questions about death and dying.
  • And so much more!

Ellie demonstrates precisely how she manages her own emotions and interactions with all the players through a variety of scenarios, often giving us the words she used to navigate these conversations. This book has so much heart. Have a box of tissues on hand (I think I cried at the end of every story).

Take the first step towards becoming an End-of-Life Doula.

One of the best things about end-of-life doula training is being in the company of others who don’t think you’re weird for feeling drawn to this career path. Our comprehensive End-of-Life Doula Training program features:

  • 10 self-paced online training modules
  • Live interactive workshop on Zoom
  • Lifetime certification (included in the registration fee)


Upcoming 2021 Trainings (your choice of dates)

  • May 22 & 23 (Saturday & Sunday, 9:30am-3pm EST)
  • July 17 & 18 (Saturday & Sunday, 9:30am-3pm EST)
  • September 14, 21 & 28 (3 Tuesdays, 1-4:15pm EST)
  • October 23 & 24 (Saturday & Sunday, 9:30am-3pm EST)
  • December 1, 8 & 15 (3 Wednesdays, 1-4:15pm EST)

What to do when a natural death occurs …

The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Arizona recently published an instructive blog detailing appropriate responses when natural death occurs in a variety of places and circumstances including:

  • at home when not expected
  • at home when expected, but not under hospice care
  • at home when under hospice care
  • in a hospital or other care facility
  • due to an accident

Top 5 Questions about becoming an end-of-life doulaDo you have questions about becoming an end-of-life doula?

We have answers! Join us TONIGHT, April 6 (Tuesday 7pm EST) for a free interactive webinar on the Top 5 Questions about Becoming an End-of-Life Doula.

  • What is an end-of-life doula and what types of services are offered?
  • How is an EOLD different from a hospice volunteer?
  • What type of background do you need to become an EOLD?
  • Where are services provided?
  • Can I make money as a doula?

Bring your questions!Join Zoom Meeting (Passcode: 481613 OR call: 646-558-8656; Meeting ID = 867 0285 9134)

membership benefitsMEMBERS ONLY WEBINAR

May 19 (Wednesday, 7-8pm EST)CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS & SPIRITUAL PRACTICES RELATED TO END-OF-LIFE CARE

With Bonnie Blachly, MN, RN, CEOLD

This presentation will focus on how culture, religious beliefs and/or spirituality impact end-of-life experiences for clients and families. We will discuss Judaism, Catholicism and Islam and their cultural/traditional end-of-life practices. Upon completion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Define cultural/religious humility.
  • State two religious practices related to death and dying for each of the three religions covered.
  • Identify at least one resource for similar information on other religions/cultures.

Become a member of Lifespan Doulas today! Learn about all the benefits of membership.

A Poem by Laurel Nicholson McCaslin

Her breath rose and fell like a slowing tide
and she smiled as if she knew
the biggest secret.
Her limbs finally still,
her head looking up
toward the corner of the living room
where we all heard
but could not see
“The Singing Lady”, an Angel, she said
and weren’t they beautiful?
In life, she had been one of those women
that lit up a room when she walked in.
In death, all of the light was surrounding her.
People she loved caring for her,
people she had lost waiting for her.
I laid in bed with her and sang,
I somehow knew the last breath when it came,
I cheered her on, go to them Mama, I’ll be alright.
And she did.
And I was.
And it was good.

Laurel shared this poem with the March 2021 EOLD training group as part of an exercise on our ideas of a “good death.” Thank you Laurel!

Thanks for your feedback on our survey!

Many of you responded to our survey requesting input on your preferences and needs around continuing education topics. Several of you volunteered to share your own areas of expertise related to end of life. We are in the process of assimilating your responses and designing our webinar offerings through the end of the year. We will keep you posted as we line up topics and speakers. Meanwhile, HAPPY SPRING EVERYONE!

Patty Brennan

Patty is the owner and visionary force behind Lifespan Doulas. For 40 years, she has been a doula, midwife, educator, author, nonprofit executive, and entrepreneur. Patty has personally trained over 2,000 people to become doulas. She is the author of The Doula Business Guide: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum or End-of-Life Doula, 3rd Edition.