Medicare Cost at End of Life ~ April Newsletter

Happy Spring!

Medicare, Hospice, End-of-Life Doulas & Money

de-medicalizing death

Medicare Cost at End of Life (from the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine). Estimates of the percentage of Medicare costs that arise from patients in the last year of life differ, ranging from 13% to 25%. The report calculates costs for Medicare beneficiaries dying in different settings and concludes that more effective use of palliative care and hospice benefits offers a lower cost, higher quality alternative for patients at end of life.

Aggressive medical care remains common at the end of life (from the New York Times). Most older cancer patients received invasive care in the last month of their lives, a new study finds. That may not be what they wanted.

Longer hospice stays lead to larger Medicare cost savings. Despite years of scrutiny over the duration of hospice care, new data show that longer stays reduce health care costs in the last year of life by as much as 11%.

Is there room in the hospice team for an end-of-life doula? Currently, most traditional Medicare based hospices do not offer an end-of-life doula, however Gabrielle Elise Jimenez makes her case for why they should.

Doulas are becoming part of the end-of-life equation (from NPR). More and more people are choosing to die in their homes instead of in hospitals. The New England Journal of Medicine reports the number is the highest it’s been since the early 1900s. As a result, families are turning to trained caregivers for support. 

Should doulas volunteer their services? (Continued)

Do volunteer doulas lower the value of the professional doula in the marketplace? What if families can’t afford the doula’s fee? Do newly trained doulas feel ready to charge market rate for their services fresh out of training? Is it possible for doulas to choose a path of service and thrive financially? Read this three-part blog by Patty Brennan on what is becoming a controversial topic among doulas. Join the conversation!

For Birth & Postpartum Doulas ~
Article, Recipes, Upcoming Conference

Booby Trap: The War on Breastfeeding. The displacement of breastfeeding with formula can be seen as part of the growing medicalization of modern life. 

Homemade Baby Formula Recipes from Weston A. Price Foundation. When breastfeeding is not possible, WAPF recommends a variety of animal-based ingredients to create formulas which are as close to the real thing as possible. 

Michigan Midwives Association Spring Conference. April 21 & 22. Neonatal Resuscitation Program and more will be offered. Opportunities to socialize with homebirth midwives, student midwives, and doulas on Friday night.

Hands-On Comfort ~ Guided Partner Practice Session for Birth Doulas

Have you taken an online Birth Doula Training with Patty Brennan, now or in the past? We have a hands-on learning opportunity for you. On Saturday April 29, from noon to 2pm, Patty will lead a Partner Practice on Zoom.

Each participant needs to have a Practice Partner with them at their location. Here’s how it will work. I will demonstrate a comfort technique. Doulas will then be given time to practice the technique, both giving and receiving with their partner. Then we will come together for group feedback and Q&A. Repeat, and so on. This approach comes very close to a live workshop format for learning the comfort measures. 

Join us! This session is complimentary (free) but registration is required.

Upcoming Member Webinars

May 17
Fostering Agency in Times of Transition
With Dr. Tamara MacIntyre, EOLD

July 19
Topic to be announced
With Francesca Lynn Arnoldy, doula trainer and author of The Death Doula’s Guide to Living Fully and Dying Prepared

September 20
Palliative Touch: Massage for People at the End of Life
With Cindy Spence, author

Watch a recording of our March Webinar:
Shifting Away from Medicalized Death: The EOL Doula’s Critical Role
With Jacki Mann, EOLD and author

The paradigm of medicalized death in our culture today is pervasive. As end-of-life doulas, we are the leaders needed to help shift this paradigm back to one of death as natural and sacred. In this webinar, we brainstorm ways we can move forward purposefully and strategically to effect the change this culture desperately needs. How can EOLDs be instrumental in returning death to its natural, sacred place in the circle of life? Learn more about the work Jacki is doing at Circle of Life.

membership benefitsBecome a Member Today and take advantage of these continuing education programs and opportunities to connect with other doulas. Additional Member benefits include a Directory listing (good for one year), a discount on select products, and access to all webinar archives.

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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 over 3,000 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, 4th Edition, and accompanying Workbook.