The University of Vermont developed the online End of Life Doula Certificate curriculum to provide a comprehensive program covering the essential skills and knowledge to prepare you to embark on your new End of Life Doula role.  In association with the UVM Larner College of Medicine, we created an interactive and supportive online program that will prepare you to provide a holistic approach to your compassionate care work with your clients.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how to best work in harmony with your client’s chosen care team, heightening a client’s feelings of empowerment and self-efficacy
  • Develop effective communication skills to have meaningful conversations with clients
  • Learn key ethical principles and patient rights
  • Understand common terminal conditions and diseases, pain management practices, the active dying process, and helpful interventions to ease pain and suffering
  • Learn how to practice Universal Safety Precautions while providing hands-on care
  • Understand the role and scope of an End of Life Doula and apply core skills to provide unconditional positive regard and non-judgmental support for your client
  • Recognize and support psychosocial development states and the stages of grief
  • Become familiar with a client’s network of organizations and professionals offering support to increase your ability to provide comfort to your client
  • Gain the skills to provide bereavement support to a client’s family and friends after death
  • Learn about meaningful activities for client visits and creating an environment of calm

Weekly Module Topics

Week 1: Introduction to End of Life Work, Hospice, and Palliative Care; Personal Death Awareness

Week 2: Introduction to the Grief Continuum; Commonalities in EOL Experiences, Dignity Therapy

Week 3: Understanding the Patient Experience; Terminal Illnesses/Diseases; Pain Assessment and Interventions, Active Dying Process; Introduction to Hands-on Care

Week 4: The Role and Scope of the End of Life Doula; Companioning and Serving; Appropriate Professional Boundaries; Holding Space and Honoring Sacred Space

Week 5: The Needs of Clients: Providing Comfort Care; Caregiving Considerations; “Turning Toward”

Week 6: Religious/Cultural Beliefs and Practices; After Death Options, Effective Referral Practices

Week 7: Preparing for Loss: Life Review, Completion Work, Legacy Projects and Grief Support

Week 8: Activities, Techniques, and Tools for Client Visits; Creating an Environment of Calm; Vigil Sitting; Personal EOL Wishes