Cultural and Religious Practices at End of Life—Webinar Recording

cultural, religions & spiritual practices

Watch a recording to our May webinar. This presentation with Bonnie Blachly focuses on how culture, religious beliefs, and/or spirituality impact end-of-life experiences for clients and families. An overview of beliefs and practices from Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam is provided. The presentation includes a definition and discussion of what is meant by cultural and religious humility and encouragement for doulas to bring an open mind and heart to each family served. Each person or family who identifies with a particular religion, does not necessarily practice that religion in the same way or value hold to all the tenets of the faith as presented here. An attitude of curiosity and non-judgment is recommended.

Bonnie served over 30 years as a Registered Nurse providing end-of-life care for older adults before moving into leadership positions as a Director of Nursing and a Nursing Home Administrator. In 2005, Bonnie launched her own consulting business, BLB Nurse Consulting, and her passion for caring for older adults and assisting with end of life care led her to become an End of Life Doula.

To learn more about Bonnie, visit her website at



  • 3:36 – Introduction to Judaism
  • 4:24 – Range of Beliefs and Practices
  • 5:30 – Common Terms
  • 7:18 – Providing Care During Illness and at the End of Life
  • 12:20 – After Death Practices
  • 13:56 – Mourning Practices
  • 15:34 – Group Discussion

Roman Catholic

  • 26:00 – Range of Beliefs and Practices
  • 26:42 – Common Terms
  • 28:15 – Providing Care During Illness and at the End of Life
  • 33:31 – After Death Practices
  • 34:22 – Mourning Process
  • 35:05 – Group Discussion


  • 41:18 – Introduction to Islam
  • 43:35 – Before Death
  • 45:05 – After Death
  • 46:07 – Burial
  • 47:45 – Group Discussion

The slides from this PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded here.


Leong, Madeline. How Islam Influences End of Life Care.

Matlins, Stuart and Magida, Arthur. How to be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook, 6th Edition.

Popovsky, Mark A. Jewish Ritual, Reality and Response at the End of Life: A Guide to Caring for Jewish Patients and their families

Sullivan, MC et al. End of Life Care for the Catholic Patient. Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin

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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 approximately 2,500 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.