top of page

Common Misconceptions About End-of-Life Doulas


Hello everyone. I’m Traci Arieli, an end-of-life doula and founder of Comforting Closure. In today's video, I'll address 10 myths and provide clarity on the role of end-of-life doulas in supporting individuals and families throughout the dying journey.

1. End-of-life doulas are only for the actively dying: One misconception is that end-of-life doulas are only involved in the final moments or days of a person's life. In reality, we provide support throughout the entire dying process, which may extend over weeks or months. We offer assistance in advance care planning, helping individuals and families navigate decisions and cope with emotional challenges. If you want an example of things we do, go to my website.

2. End-of-life doulas provide medical care: Another misconception is that end-of-life doulas provide medical services. However, our role is non-medical. We do not administer medication, perform medical procedures, or offer clinical advice. In fact, both the International EOL Doula Association and National EOL Doula Alliance state that EOL Doulas are non-medical professionals and won’t even perform basic clinical tasks such as monitoring vital signs or administering medication. Instead, we focus on providing emotional support, guidance, companionship, and advocacy.

3. End-of-life doulas replace hospice or palliative care: We do not replace the services provided by hospice or palliative care professionals. We complement the medical care received from healthcare providers, and we work collaboratively with the healthcare team. Because of the workload and time constraints placed on the healthcare team, EOL Doulas with private practices can spend a great deal more time supporting the person who is ill and their family.

4. End-of-life doulas only work with the dying individual: While our primary focus is to support the dying person, we also provide assistance and guidance to families and loved ones. We offer emotional and respite support for caregivers, help facilitate communication, and provide resources for family members to help them navigate through the challenges of the end-of-life journey.

5. End-of-life doulas hasten or delay death: Some people mistakenly believe that end-of-life doulas have the power to hasten or delay death. This is not true. End-of-life doulas do not have any control over the timing of death. Our role is to provide support, comfort, and guidance during the dying process, but we do not have the ability to influence the natural progression of the end-of-life process.

6. End-of-life doulas are only for people with no support system: Some believe that end-of-life doulas are only necessary for individuals who lack family or social support. However, even when there is a strong support system, end-of-life doulas can offer additional expertise, guidance, and an outside perspective. We help ease the burden on family members, providing respite.

7. End-of-life doulas are only for elderly individuals: While end-of-life doulas often work with elderly individuals who are nearing the end of their lives, our services are not limited to a specific age group. End-of-life doulas can provide support to people of any age who are facing a terminal illness, a life-limiting condition, or who are in the dying process.

8. End-of-life doulas are only for those with a specific belief system: Another misconception is that end-of-life doulas are only suitable for individuals with specific religious or spiritual beliefs. In reality, we respect and honor a person's individual beliefs, regardless of their religious or spiritual background. We provide support that is inclusive and tailored to the individual's needs and preferences.

9. End-of-life doulas are only for those who want to die at home: While end-of-life doulas can provide valuable support for individuals who choose to die at home, our services are not exclusive to home-based settings. We can also offer assistance in hospitals, hospices, or other care facilities. End-of-life doulas adapt to different environments and provide support wherever the person and their family require it.

10. End-of-life doulas are only for those who have a long-term prognosis: Some people mistakenly believe that end-of-life doulas are only needed for individuals with a long-term prognosis or a known terminal illness. However, we can provide support and guidance to individuals who have received a sudden or unexpected life-limiting diagnosis. We can help navigate the emotional and practical challenges that arise during such circumstances, offering comfort and assistance during the uncertain and difficult times of transition.

Those are 10 misconceptions about end-of-life doulas.

Thank you for taking the time to watch this video. If you have any questions, please comment below or reach out to me directly. And if you’ve found this video to be helpful, please like, share, comment, and subscribe.


bottom of page