“This world can seem marvelously convincing until death collapses the illusion and evicts us from our hiding place.”
~Sogyal Rinpoche~


Section 1: Introduction and general information
Section 2: Death Doulas for the Dying
Section 3:
Birth of a Death Doula

~ What do Death Doulas do?
~ Do you need a medical background to become a Death Doula?
~ Who becomes a Death Doula?
~ Does a Death Doula charge a fee?
~ Thinking of your own needs as a Death Doula
~ Caring for yourself and for others
Section 4: Practical Home Care
~ The Bed
~ Clothing and useful extras
~ The Bathroom
~ Preventing injury to the Carer
~ Moving the Patient
~ Log-rolling the Patient
~ Working safely with the patient’s assistance
~ Helping the patient sit up in bed
~ Injury to the Carer
~ How can you avoid problems and speed up recovery?
Section 5: Physiological and spiritual aspects of dying
~ Social
~ Psychological
~ Biological
~ Physical
Choosing the moment to go
How can a Death Doula help the dying person with social and psychological concerns?
~ Provide time and space for communication
~ Communicate respect and acceptance of the dying person
~ Avoid withdrawing prematurely from the dying person
~ Accept that dying may be extremely difficult for the person
Section 6: End of life Ethics
~ Equality and human rights
~ Ethical principles
~ Ethical issues in end-of-life care
Beneficence and non-maleficence
Informed consent
Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders
‘Futile’ Treatments
Refusing and Halting Health Care
~ Is refusing treatment legal?
Killing vs Allowing to Die
Terminal Sedation
~ Sedatives
Pain Relief
Section 7: A ‘Good Death’ and ‘Dying Well’
~ Dying Well – Opportunities and Adventures
~ Physical Care
~ Seven keys to a good death
~ What should professionals and providers do?
Section 8: Planning For the End
~ End-of-Life planning: Decisions in late-stage care
~ Leaving a Legacy
~ Advance Directives for medical decisions
~ What else do I need to know?
Section 9: Planning for the Final Days
~ The Environment
Entering the Space
Light and Smell
Touch and Holding
The Written Plan
Alleviating physical symptoms
Spiritual Distress
Section 10: An End-of-Life (Death) Doula Approach
~ Reflecting
~ Planning
~ The Vigil
~ Reprocessing
Section 11: Sitting Vigil – No one should die alone
~ Your first Vigil
~ Create an atmosphere of unconditional presence
~ What is a Vigil?
~ Your presence
~ Creating the Space
~ Pain Management
~ Physical Comfort – The Mouth
~ Cleansing the Body while sitting Vigil
~ Peaceful Environment
~ Time Out
~ Fresh Air
~ Observe Religious or Spiritual values
~ Dying people saying they want to go home
~ Talk to them
~ The dying see dead people
~ Music
~ Common fears of the family
~ As Death Approaches
~ After Death Occurs
Section 12: Care of the Body after Death
Section 13: Care of the Body between Death and Disposition
Section 14: Boundaries and You
~ The Three reasons why we need professional boundaries
To protect the Doula
To protect the Patient
To protect the Agency
~ Boundary Guidelines
~ Prevention and Intervention
Section 16: What is inside your Doula Bag
~ What is a Doula Bag?
Essential Doula Bag Checklist
The Bag
Personal Hygiene
Optional Items to Consider
Comfort Items
Essential Oils
~ Optional Items to Consider for your client
Personal hygiene and comfort items
~ Wrap-Up
Section 15: “I am a Death Doula” what now?
~ Conclusion
~ What are your options?
Elder Care
Support and comfort for the terminally ill
Respite care for the family
Facilitating legacy and Life Review Projects
Conducting Living Funerals
Planning and conducting Vigils
Mourning and Post-Loss Support
Facilitating with Post-Death Home Organization
‘Holding Space’ – Your most vital service
Home, Hospital or Hospice?
Discussing Advanced Care Directives
Section 17: Sunset – Last Reflections
Section 18: Cultural considerations at the end of life
~ Consider culture, customs and beliefs
~ Why is culture important?
~ Social support
~ Cultural and spiritual needs
~ Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)
~ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people
~ Awareness
~ Support for family and Caregivers
~ Co-ordinated care
~ Traditional South African Funerals
~ Funeral customs in South Africa
Jewish burial practices
Muslim burial practices
~ The African concept of death
~ The African concept of the afterlife
~ Burial and mourning customs
~ How to lead a guided meditation for a dying patient
Section 19: References
Section 20: Assignments and multiple choice exam