Death Doulas in the News: A Media Scoping Study

Joana Liz Pimenta, Ana Pedroso, Jennifer Tieman, Deb Rawlings

Research output: Other contribution

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A white paper published by the Flinders Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying

Death Doulas (DD) have increasingly appeared in the media, normalising the non-medical advocate/guide role in the absence of formal academic literature.

This White paper reports on the retrospective, descriptive crosssectional study of data analysed from international coverage of online media and Australian printed news published in English over a one year period from December 2016 to November 2017.

Study findings show that articles about DDs in the media were mainly in general news, blog format and events. The tone used in the articles was mainly emotional and supportive, lacking an objective perspective.

Analysing the content of the media stories provided insights into what DDs do, what influenced their decisions to become a DD, and why this role is emerging. Due to the subjectiveness around the question, feelings around DD work are difficult to classify. A strong and positive response to DD’s work was reflected in all articles, except for four.

This emerging role appears to reflect a desire for different approaches and ways of caring at the end of life. They appear to be created by patients’ and families’ needs for promoting balance in their dying process: preventing/stopping the excessive medicalisation of end-of-life care and bringing meaning and spiritual comfort.
Original languageEnglish
TypeRePaDD White Paper
PublisherFlinders University
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationAdelaide, South Australia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • Death and dying
  • Palliative care
  • Death doulas
  • Media coverage


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