An international survey of Death Doula training organizations: the views of those driving Death Doula training and role enactment

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Abstract

Context: Death Doulas are working globally to provide non-medical end-of-life care. They have different training experiences and views on the role and whether it should be standardised.

Objective: To seek the views of organisations responsible for training Death Doulas in order to determine what the drivers are behind this emerging role. 

Methods: We conducted an online survey with Death Doula training organisations in five countries utilising both a targeted and snowball approach. Qualitative analysis was undertaken with themes pre-determined (apriori) due to the nature of the survey categories. 

Results: In total, representatives from 13 organisations in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, United Kingdom, and United States responded. The organisations had provided training for 0 to 20 years, with one just starting and another training birth doulas and now expanding. Owners and trainers hold an array of qualifications such as academic, medical, non-medical, and life experience. Curricula have usually been developed locally, and not always included pedagogical consideration, a strategic business model, nor mapping processes such as gap analysis. The organisations are run similarly, and curricula have several consistent topics but with distinctly different approaches. Trainers’ views are also mixed about the way to proceed with registration of the Death Doula role. 

Conclusion: The contrasting views of training organisations explain much of the ambiguity of Death Doulas themselves regarding standardisation of registration, education and role enactment. If heading towards the ultimate goal of professionalisation of the role then a challenging path lies ahead with little in the way of agreement in what this would require.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPalliative Care and Social Practice
Volume16
Early online date12 Sept 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Death Doula
  • Education
  • End of life
  • Training

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