End-of-life Doulas Offer Compassion and Companionship for the Dying

October 1, 2021, Doula, End-of-life doula
End of life doula

Gilchrist’s end-of-life doulas are extraordinary individuals who graciously give their time to sit by the bedsides of patients as the end-of-life approaches. 

Doulas provide a calming and supportive presence for both the patients and their families at the most critical and emotional point in their hospice journeys—the hours immediately prior to death. They get to know Gilchrist patients during their last hours of life and experience the mystery of the transition from life to death.

Gilchrist’s doulas are volunteers who have undergone extensive training and are passionate about helping people have a “good death.” They offer an extra layer of support and companionship to complement the services already provided by the hospice team.

End-of-life doulas provide enormous comfort and reassurance to our patients and their families. But they often get as much out of the experience as the families they serve. Our doulas tell us all the time how transformative and rewarding the experience is for them. They see how powerful their presence is for both families and patients. Often, we hear that the volunteers still think about the patients they comforted months and years later. 

About the Gilchrist End-Of-Life Doula Program

Gilchrist’s end-of-life doula program started in 2010, born of the idea that no one should have to die alone. Today, we have 75 trained end-of-life doula volunteers who have supported close to 900 families, providing more than 2,600 hours of bedside care in our inpatient units, in homes, and in long-term care facilities. Gilchrist’s doula program has been recognized for its excellence and in 2011, it won the Healthcare Heroes Award from The Daily Record.

Doulas offer patients and families the gift of compassionate presence as they accompany them through the passage from this world. There are few things more valuable than providing a sense of peace and comfort during this most sacred time.

All Gilchrist doulas undergo specialized volunteer training. To learn more about becoming a Gilchrist volunteer, visit

To support our work, visit

Patti Holbrook, Gilchrist Volunteer Services Coordinator
By: Patti Holbrook, Gilchrist Volunteer Services Coordinator

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