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Recognizing that many terminally ill people and their families are overwhelmed by what is being asked of them while they face the end of life, a rapidly growing movement of specially trained non-medical support specialists called end-of-life doulas (EOLDs) is emerging. EOLDs offer a broad range of holistic services that complement and supplement the care provided by medical professionals, hospice care providers, and others—before, during, and after death.
In 2017, a non-profit membership organization called The National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA) was formed to lead the EOLD movement as it evolves in the US, Canada, and several other countries. With more than 1,000 members, NEDA is now the number-one resource for comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date information about this developing field of practice. It is the only organization serving as a “big tent” for all practicing EOLDs, trainers, and other interested parties—regardless of their individual experience, background, and area of focus.
NEDA’s broad purpose is to inspire positive, creative changes in the way people prepare for and experience death by:
- Offering various learning and networking opportunities for its members and others through its website, directories, newsletters, social media, webinars, conferences, and events
- Actively promoting the important role EOLDs play in end-of-life care
- Establishing high standards and ethical and practical guidelines
- Forming a proficiency assessment process that measures core competencies in communication and interpersonal skills, professionalism, values and ethics, professionalism, and technical skills
“In order people to understand and embrace the work EOLDs do, there needs to be a basic level of continuity and consistency that defines our scope of practice,” explains Angela Shook, current NEDA board president. “While training organizations offer their own version of what it means to be an end-of-life doula, the profession is currently unregulated.
“EOLDs are not yet eligible for licensure or credentialing by any state, federal, or academic agency or board,” adds Shook. “The consistency offered through NEDA’s proficiency assessment process is extremely important. Families who are utilizing EOLDs, and healthcare providers who are referring families to them, will have confidence in the knowledge of those EOLDs who earn the NEDA Proficiency Badge.”
Shook also believes that an affiliation with C-TAC will also be highly beneficial.
“When I first introduced C-TAC to the rest of our board members, everyone recognized how the two organizations were aligned in terms of strategic priorities and mission,” says Shook. “We appreciate C-TAC’s willingness and ability to amplify awareness of NEDA and the benefits of EOLD service. We see that C-TAC is able to connect NEDA members with those who share similar goals and objectives, including hospices and palliative care providers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and so many others in the health care delivery system. It certainly helps put us up in front of the medical community in a way that heightens our level of credibility and proficiency in a new way. It also has wonderful educational resources that we can access and share with our members.”
To find more information about NEDA, please visit NEDA’s website. NEDA also has presence on social media through the following: