A Forum for Encouragement and Exchange

Vol. 11, October 2019

The National End-of-Life Doula Alliance is a 501c.6 membership organization for all end-of-life doulas and trainers, regardless of background or level of experience. 


Attention all NEDA Trainers! 
The EOLD field is expanding rapidly and the future of NEDA is about growth and collaboration. Trainers are an important part of bringing us all together and we need and respect your input! Thank you to everyone who has already completed the survey. We want to hear from all NEDA trainers before October 15th. We are working towards 100% participation, so please take 5 minutes and fill it out today. It will make a difference!  

Welcome to NEDA's new
Board of Directors!

President - Merilynne Rush
Vice President - Angela Shook
Secretary - Lisa Patterson
Treasurer  - Joseph Knight
Newsletter  - Charlene Vandiver
Doulapalooza - Angela Shook
Social Media - Karen Reppen and Joelle Johns
Webinars - Alua Arthur and Tracey Walker
Marketing - Diane Button
Strategic Planning - Victoria Quinn-Stephens and Karylinn Echols
Learn More About the New Board
Spiritual Care for the Dying
October 15th at 7pm EST
In the next NEDA Member Exclusive webinar series, members will learn about spiritual care for the dying from the perspective of a chaplain on a palliative care team and will also learn how doulas can work with chaplains to provide spiritual care for the dying.  Presented by Patricia Lyndale, this webinar is certain to build our practices and create opportunities for us to integrate our work within existing care models.
About the presenter: Chaplain Patricia Lyndale grew up in southwestern Michigan, and after living in several other places, including Switzerland and Germany, moved back to Michigan in 2005. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Florida State University and received her Clinical Pastoral Education at Lehigh Valley Health System in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She has been a chaplain at the University of Michigan Health System since 2006, where she has served both in the Spiritual Care Department and with the Adult Palliative Care Consultation Service. 
Before I Die

People tend to avoid talking about and preparing for death, whether we’re faced with our own passing, our loved ones, or our pets. Everyone needs to be educated about living life, facing death, and the emotional journeys in-between. While death may be the ultimate mystery, preparing for it need not be your ultimate fear. Instead, preparation can be a gift—to yourself and your loved ones. 
NEDA invites you to join The  Before I Die AZ event in Scottsdale, AZ on  Tuesday, October 29th through Sunday, November 3rd, 2019.
CEUs available for Physicians, Nurses, CNAs and Social Workers.

Join NEDA former board member Leann Thrapp on Saturday evening for an EOL Doula Wine and Cheese Party! Free, but tickets required. Get them here!

Thank you to those who participated in the September webinar Nurturing Touch for the Dying by Elizabeth Erbrecht LMT.

During the webinar, Elizabeth Erbrecht shared about the power of touch to help your client and added to your business. She discussed whether or not everyone can receive touch, the benefits, and the research out there, how to have a conversation with your clients about touch, how touch can help your business, and when not to touch.  There are 4 types of touch that were spoken about, being present, energy work, light touch and nurturing touch. 

There are  steps in helping yourself and your client be comfortable with touch. Having a conversation about touch and their comfort level is something that is a primary step. Being comfortable with yourself and touch is also important. Taking steps to be present and relaxed is a skill that can be developed over time and practiced. Getting comfortable with touch is a tool that is helpful in all parts of our work. 

In the Q&A portion of the webinar, members shared their experience with clients and asked how to tell if a person really would like touch or that they think they should receive it. We spoke more on having an open conversation with the client or caregiver and honoring their wishes.  

Thank you to all who participated in the webinar.  It is was a necessary and rich conversation! The recording has already been sent out to members and we trust that sharing techniques, resources, and strategies, we will build our platforms and grow public awareness of this important field!

You can reach out to her for questions or for more info by going to 

Her book, "Nurturing Touch for the Dying," is available here.

Looking for something?
Are you a NEDA member looking for a webinar about a specific
topic or skill? Tell us! 

Not yet a member?  Become a member of NEDA today so you can join in!
Common Grief Responses
By Lisa Patterson, MA, Counseling
Grief Support Specialist

One of the questions on the NEDA Proficiency Assessment asks “which may be common grief responses following the death of a significant loved one, such as a partner or parent?” The end-of-life doula recognizes that everyone who experiences loss will have their own, distinctive reaction and ways of coping with grief. One person may overdo it while another may act in ways that are completely out of character, while yet another may isolate while they meet the loss. While there are as many different responses to grief as there are individuals, and while people differ dramatically in range, intensity, and types of grief responses, the grief literature tells us that the process of grieving (otherwise known as bereavement) takes a long time. Grief affects us over time and it’s now widely maintained in the field of bereavement studies that we likely don’t ever completely “recover” from it. The experience of bereavement changes us and it literally takes years of psychological “work” to adjust and adapt to a significant loss. The experience can be terribly difficult, but it also can be seen as a rich opportunity for personal growth. Typical grief reactions can be classified as emotional, cognitive, physical, behavioral, and/or spiritual reactions.

Emotional responses to grief can include sadness, anxiety, fear, guilt, relief, love, loneliness. Cognitive reactions can show up as shock, an inability to concentrate, impaired thinking or confusion, de-personalization, or preoccupation with the loss. Some physical reactions to grief take form in aches and pains, fatigue, shortness of breath, sexual dysfunction, or oversensitivity to noise, light, and other stimulation. Behavioral responses can include crying, angry outbursts, withdrawal, hyperactivity, even humor. Spiritually, grief reactions may look like doubt, disbelief, changes in beliefs or values, and/or renewed or strengthened faith. Again, grief reactions vary from person to person, and each has his/her own way of dealing with loss. Generally speaking, humans are hard-wired to cope with grief, it’s part of the human experience; 9 out of 10 people will not develop symptoms of “complicated grief” and will not need a referral to a therapist for grief counseling.
Depending on when the end-of-life doula is “hired” by the client/family, the doula may walk alongside them and support them through several distinct phases of grief work: the anticipatory grief before the person dies, the acute grief during and immediately after the death, and the time of adjustment afterwards, as the “survivors” focus on coping with their loss(es), and moving through the grief process. Although doulas aren’t trained grief counselors and can’t offer professional clinical support in this area, we do see, work with, and normalize grief for our families; we’re “there” for the griever as grief unfolds. While most of us aren’t specially trained in bereavement, doulas will want to know enough about grief, and feel comfortable enough witnessing the many manifestations of grief, to both adequately support our clients while also taking care of ourselves. It’s not easy to journey alongside someone in mourning, and it can take a toll on our emotional health if we’re not careful to monitor our feelings as we serve others.
A wonderful reference and read on grief (for doulas and clients who want to know more) is the book “Grief Is A Journey: Finding Your Path Through Loss” by Dr. Kenneth J. Doka (ISBN is 978-4767-7148-9).
Doulas in the News

End of Life Planning: What are death doulas and death wellness? 
by Kelsey Ogletree, Shape, September 5, 2019

For more Doulas in the News click here!

Congratulations to the following NEDA Members who successfully earned the NEDA Proficiency Badge in September 2019

Donna Baranyay
Amanda Rens Moon
Julie Interrante
Amy Bishop
Laura Svajlenko
Chandel Beck
Julie Norris
Joan Bretthauer
Nancy Rausch
Kyle Bachman
Deah Kinion
Martha Heymann
Holly Ann Alswel
To take the NEDA Proficiency Assessment, follow the procedures on this page. You must be a NEDA member. We look forward to recognizing you for earning your NEDA Proficiency Badge! 
How NEDA Works:
NEDA is a 501c6 non-profit membership organization.
Mission and Vision here. Board member info here.
NEDA Newsletter Committee: Nada Frazier, Chair
Charlene Vandiver, Elisabeth Almerini, Maureen Yarbrough, Sandra Cochran
NEDA Website
NEDA Directory
Newsletter Archive
Webinar Archive
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National End of Life Doula Alliance
PO Box 456
Holderness, NH 03245

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