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Life After Death: Death Doulas & Natural Burial

This LibGuide discusses what natural burial is, what death doulas do, and how these ideas can positively interrupt the current funeral industry.

What is a Death Doula? 


Founder of the organization The Order of the Good Death, Caitlin Doughty, writes on the organization's website that a Death Doula is "a person who (much like a birth doula brings a baby into the world) accompanies a person out of the world." Death doulas, also known as death midwives, are non-medical personnel who assist in the dying process with emotional and spiritual care, as well as help the family through the grieving process. A death doula may also be called in to help make a future death plan, or assist in caring for the body after death in the case of a home funeral. 

There is currently no national certifying body for death doulas in the United States, but there are a number of certifying programs for aspiring doulas. Organizations offering death doula certification programs include the International End-of-LIfe Doula Association (INELDA), National End-of-life Doula Alliance (NEDA), Lifespan Doulas, and Doulagivers

Caitlin Doughty is an LA-based mortician who runs the Youtube channel Ask a Mortician. In this episode, she spoke with Death Doula Alua Arthur about what she does as a death planner, attorney, and Death Doula. 

The National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA) is a non-profit organization that provides support to grieving families through doula services, and provides resources to death doulas.The organization offers a directory of doulas for families to utilize, classes, and a certification program. 

The International End-of-Life Doula Association (INELDA) was established in 2015, as a way to provide meaningful death care service to the dying, and their families. INELDA offers trainings, classes, and certification programs for those who are looking to become death doulas and those who may be caregivers to those dying.