Since 2005, Deanna Cochran, RN, EOL Doula, Mentor and Trainer has been one of the earliest pioneers of the end of life doula role.
She encourages and supports you to do what is in your heart to do, having confidence in your God-given gifts, and longing to do the right thing, and be present to accompany others at the end of life.
She mentors family members and end of life practitioners, caregivers, healthcare and non-medical professionals from around the world in proven methods to powerfully serve the dying and their families.
We are with you every step of the way, ensuring you have the tools and structure to confidently manifest your desire to do all you can for your family and/or your community at the end of life.
Your class gave me the tools and the confidence I needed. Working with you has been a pure joy! It has truly changed my life. Thank you.
Working with Deanna feels like following a pathfinder into territory she knows well and will lead me safely through.
Anyone can do this. All it takes are some simple awarenesses and a desire to be present to someone and/or their family. We train anyone who is drawn to be with others at a time when most others are shying away or are disinterested.
All along the way, there has been conflicting pulls on this role. On the one hand, there are those of us who want to keep it a home cemtered, neighbor helping neighbor companioning. On the polar opposite, there are many who want to finally do what they are called to do, be accountable to standards of practice and be able to know that mainstream healthcare and consumers understand and know how to use their talent.
I used to be on the grassroots side for years ... until I heard from more and more doulas themselves who told me they wanted professional standards, not necessarily licensing and credentialing, but a process that would be respected by healthcare professionals and consumers. I have always listened to what you wanted, the people who come to me. My whole training program is here because you asked for it many years ago.
At this time, there is no International, National, or State Organization that represents end of life guides, doulas, midwives, or coaches with a Board Certification in the field. Creation of this standardization would require a strict process that takes many people's hard work and years to form. It would involve components of a program not created by just one individual, but by a multi-disciplinary team of end of life professionals considering the best in end of life care. It would be an enormous undertaking.
However, something else is happening you should know. Last year, I reached out to my national hospice trade organization, The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), before I went to present at the International Death Doula Conference in Maui (2017). I asked them if they were interested in talking with us end of life doula trainers about our movement and how they may be able to assist us and how we could assist the dying through all the hospices and palliative care clinics they represent.
I spoke with leadership of the NHPCO and they thought it was a great idea to talk with us. They invited several of the leading trainers to the San Diego Management and Leadership Conference of NHPCO in September 2017 and those of us who could attend shared all we knew and began to know each other.
We were invited to talk again in November 2017 with others who could not be in attendance in San Diego. In the meantime, the trainers from San Diego began to form an idea which turned into the National End of LIfe Doula Alliance (NEDA). We asked all trainers who were in San Diego and those who could not attend if they would like to join us. The trainers who said "yes!" (besides me) were:
Patty Burgess (Teaching Transitions)
Tarron Estes (Concious Dying Institute)
Merrilynne Rush (Lifespan Doula)
Suzanne Obrienne (Doulagivers)
Lee Webster (former ED of the National Home Funeral Alliance)
NEDA has been strong in development since the San Diego meeting in September 2017; we are the only end of life doula organization that represents all doulas regardless of how they learned of the art and service. NEDA also represents all end of life doula trainers, regardless of style as long as we are in alignment with each other. No one trainer decides what is best for the industry, many of us have collaborated together for the desire to strenthen our movement. I accepted the honor to serve as Vice President of NEDA during our first year of formation.
In our November 2017 meeting with the NHPCO, those of us in attendance were shocked and ecstatic to learn that it might be possible for an End of Life Doula Council to be created to educate the public, hospices and palliative organizations about end of life doulas and how we may be helpful.
In February 2018, I received a phone call from a representative from NHPCO that indeed the Council would be created. We will be meeting with the NHPCO in April 2018 at the Management and Leadership Conference in Washington, DC to discuss implementation of the Council.
Who knew that one phone call would bring all this on, but it did. That's why i encourage anyone who is even thinking about serving in your community to come on! You never know what lies ahead when you have a passion for doing what is right and helping others live in peace as they die.
All this to say that what is happening is not cutting off any other way of serving as a doula, but is only increasing and expanding the role and the ways in which a doula may serve. There is no polarity or one cancelling the other out. There is a richness and depth and honoring of all the ways a person may serve others at the end of life.
A person may serve in hospice, in the hospital, in home health, in clinics, as a medical professional, as a family member, neighbor, advocate, private practice doula and professional doula abiding by a certain code of practice. We are all more supported due to the expansion of the role. Nothing is taken from anyone. What is happening is powerful--people are actually valuing the role.
Certified End of Life Doula
When you see the title 'Certified End of Life Doula' or 'Certified Death Doula,' it is referring to a person who has taken a company's program and was awarded a Certificate of Completion that they met the requirements of that company's process. Understand that when you receive your Certificate of Completion from any organization, you have simply met the standards of that organization only.
Quality of Life Care offers an End of Life Doula Certificate Program. We are recognized for the excellence of our training, dedication, and commitment to those seeking to serve others at the end of life. We teach you everything, primarily focusing on what it takes to be an outstanding doula to a person and their family. We teach not only the educational components that must be learned, but also the art of the end of life doula practice.
Our model is an intensive, comprehensive, practically-based, holistically-centered model of care, abiding by NEDA standards, for an end of life doula practice. Our Program encompasses all the components that nourishes a person and equips them to accompany the dying and their families. Our Certificate honors and represents your dedication, commitment, and calling to serving and empowering others at the end of life.
A personal message from Deanna Cochran, RN, End of LIfe Doula