During the COVID-19 pandemic, end-of-life doulas (EOLDs) are providing innovative services to address the myriad needs of families caring for dying individuals. This open access article, recently published by Marian Krawczyk, PhD and Merilynne Rush, MSHP, shares the findings of their qualitative interviews with 22 EOLD pioneers and innovators in four countries where EOLDs are most prevalent.
EOLDs are specially trained to provide non-medical care and support to dying individuals and their families/caregivers (see NHPCO EOLD Council information here).
The aim of the study was to solicit the perspective of key stakeholders and early innovators in community-based end-of-life care about the development and practices of EOLDs. The researchers conducted 22 semi-structured interviews with participants in Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
This article provides the first detailed taxonomy of the EOLD role and services from the perspective of subject experts in four countries. The findings are situated within literature on the professionalization of caregiving, with particular attention to nomenclature, role flexibility and boundary blurring, and explicit versus tacit knowledge.
Also discussed is the importance of jurisdictional considerations as the EOLD movement develops. Krawczyk and Rush speculate that the EOLD role is potentially experiencing common developmental antecedents similar to other now-professionalized forms of caregiving. Their findings contribute substantial new information to the small body of empirical research about the EOLD role and practices, provide critical firsthand insight, and are the first research findings to explore EOLDs from a comparative international perspective.
Download this open access article.