Deathwives Founders: Death Doulas Fill End-of-Life Care Gaps, Ease Strain on Hospice Staff

More people are stepping into death doula work, according to founders of the Colorado-based organization Deathwives. Many come striving for change after witnessing loved ones receive poor end-of-life care or enduring bereavement without support.

A death doula is a non-medical provider trained to care for a terminally ill person and their family physically, emotionally and spiritually during the process of death. They facilitate conversations regarding the dying process, discuss advance care planning, hospice election and advocate the patient’s wishes around ceremony, memorialization and disposition.

Death doulas also serve as patient advocates and offer respite to caregivers as well as logistical support with tasks like estate and financial planning or funeral services, said Deathwives Founders Lauren Carroll and Erin Merelli.