End of life doula (BREV 1100)

Make a positive impact in your community and help those who need support by becoming an End of Life Doula. Are you working in health care and looking to receive end of life doula training within a Canadian context? Or maybe you’re a family caregiver who wants to understand the complexities of death and dying? Through our end of life doula program you’ll learn to provide the best possible care and support for those who are nearing the end of life. You’ll get experience developing care plans, responding effectively to grief, facilitating family meetings, teaching self-care practices and more. Find out more below.


Course Name

End of Life Doula

Course Description

This course is designed for individuals who have been or will be called upon to provide care, support and advocacy for someone who is facing the end of their life. Students in this course develop an understanding of how the continuity of care and advocacy they provide complements the end of life care provided by the medical community and hospice palliative care workers and volunteers.


Whether you are a family caregiver seeking a deeper understanding of the questions and issues that arise at end of life, or are planning to open a practice as an End of Life Doula, this course will provide you with opportunities to discuss issues, ask questions, and find a community of practice that can support you as a caregiver through the end of life journey.


For more information about the community of practice for End of Life Doulas, please contact The End of Life Doula Association of Canada.

Subject Code

BREV 1100

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:


  • describe end of life care and the role of the   End of Life Doula;
  • discuss a range of beliefs and practices surrounding death;
  • demonstrate effective communication skills;
  • understand the complexity of grief and demonstrate effective responses to expressions of grief;
  • understand and demonstrate the use of Advance Care Planning tools
  • understand the legalities of funeral practices in the Province; and
  • understand the End of Life Doula community of practice.





Textbooks not included in tuition fee. 


There are no formal prerequisites for this course, but completion of English 12 with a minimum grade of “C” or proof of equivalent as outlined in detail on the General Admission Information page is assumed.

Students who register are understood to be confirming successful completion of this expectation.

Course Content

Topics covered include:


  • palliative care and the complementary role of the End of Life Doula;
  • changing demographics and its effect on the health care system;
  • cross-cultural and religious beliefs and practices surrounding death;
  • effective communication skills;
  • vigiling and vigil support
  • complexity of grief and grieving, and the variety of coping mechanisms employed by the bereaved;
  • community resources available;
  • importance of and tools for Advanced Care Planning;
  • ethics and legal requirements; and
  • building a community of practice.

Course outline.

Learning Resources

Required book as of September 1, 2020:

  • Fersko-Weiss, Henry (2020), Finding Peace at the End of Life, A Death Doula’s Guide for Families and Caregivers:  978-1-59003-502-3


  • Fersko-Weiss, Henry (2020), Finding Peace at the End of Life, A Death Doula’s Guide for Families and Caregivers, DIGITAL:  978-1-63341-107-4

 *suggested to read in advance, however can be read during course also (approx 1.5hrs of reading/night)

Additional recommended books:

  • Okun, B. (2012) Saying Goodbye: A Guide to Coping with a Loved One’s Terminal Illness, NY: Berkley Books
  • Kessler, D. (2007) The Needs of the Dying, NY: Harper Collins

Contact the Douglas College Bookstore or local/online bookseller for prices and ordering information.

Please purchase the book in advance of the course start date.

Instruction Method

This is traditionally a classroom-based course, however courses have presently been moved to online delivery, until the end of 2021. Students are expected to participate in class discussions.


You will need a computer that is connected to the internet to access the Blackboard Collaborate virtual platform. We recommend using either Chrome or Firefox as your browser. As your course includes live sessions, you will also need to enable your computer's audio and microphone to participate.


You can check if your computer is compatible with Blackboard Collaborate here and check to see if your browser is compatible here.



Two (approx 30-60mins ea) take-home assignments and two in-class assignments.

  Instructor Biographies


This course is graded on a Mastery/Non-mastery basis.  Recognition of Course Completion for successful participants of the course, is issued digitally, by the Department of Continuing Education, Health Sciences.

An official Douglas College transcript can be ordered via my Account.

Completion Timeframe

32 hours

Registration and Course Start

Registration is easy: simply call CE Registration at 604-527-5472 or toll-free at 1-866-930-5472 and quote the CRN (below) for the session you are interested in. Payment of the tuition fee must accompany registration.


Instructions on how to access your course materials will be emailed to you by the Program Assistant within five (5) business days prior to your chosen course start date.


Please note: while the College does everything it can to ensure that courses will proceed, we reserve the right to cancel an offering up to one week prior to the start date if minimum enrollment numbers are not met. Full refunds will be issued in the event of cancellation. 


Upcoming offerings



CRN Province Schedule Registration Deadline
Oct 2-Oct 30
31046 ON (Online)
4xSat, 9-4:30, 1xSat 9-4
Sep 23/21
Oct 4-Oct 8
31047 Maritimes (Online)
M-Th, 9-4:30, F 9-4
Sep 24/21
Oct 16-Nov 13 31075 BC - **CHANGED** (Online)
4xSat, 9-4:30, 1xSat 9-4
Oct 8/21
Oct 25-29 31327 BC - (Online) *NEW* M-Th, 9-4:30, F 9-4 Oct 15/21
Nov 6-Nov 20
31048 ON (Online)
2x Sat-Sun, 9-4:30, 1x Sat, 9-4
Oct 28/21
Nov 13-27 31076 BC (Online) 2x Sat-Sun, 9-4:30, 1x Sat, 9-4 Nov 4/21
Nov 14-Dec 16
31049 SK (Online)
5xSun, 1-4:15, 5xThurs, 6-9:15
Nov 4/21
Nov 15-19 31077 YT (Online) M-Th, 9-4:30, F 9-4 Nov 4/21
Nov 26-28 & Dec 4-5 31078 AB (Online) F-Sun, 9-4:30, Sat, 9-4:30, Sun, 9-4 Nov 19/21
Dec 4-18
31050 ON (Online)
2x Sat-Sun, 9-4:30, 1x Sat, 9-4
Nov 25/21
Dec 6-10 31079 BC (Online) M-Th, 9-4:30, F 9-4 Nov 26/21
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the attendance requirement to successfully complete this course?

All classes must be attended in order to receive a Recognition of Course Completion.

What if I have an emergency and cannot attend a class?

Emergency circumstances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and will need to be reviewed by the Program Coordinator. If the class time missed is between several hours and 1 day of the course, this time may be made up as arranged with the instructor.  If the class time missed exceeds 1 day, the course would need to be re-taken at the student’s expense, in order to receive the recognition of course completion.

Are (text)books included in the course tuition?

No.  Any required books for purchase are outlined on the course information page on the Douglas College website.  Course materials, as found on the course shell, are included in the tuition.

Where can I purchase required books?

From the Douglas College bookstore or from any other source you prefer.

How long are the course materials available to me on the course shell?

One month from the time your course ends.

Are classes offered in real-time as per the schedule associated with an offering?

Yes.  Students are required to be present and actively contributing, during the hours as published for a course offering.

Are classes recorded for me to watch later on my own time?

No.  Students are required to be present during the scheduled times of their chosen course offering.

I work full-time during the week, are there any offerings available to accommodate my schedule?

Yes.  Generally, dates/schedules are posted several months or more in advance.  Please scroll through the options listed, as there are offerings in the evenings and on weekends.

For the online offerings now, am I required to sit in front of my computer entire days for this course?

There are regular breaks given, including a 1 hour lunch break for all scheduled offerings that are full days.  Instructors also give time to watch videos or do break-out sessions with classmates, which also allow for time to stretch and get away from in front of the screen.


Will I be a certified End of Life Doula when I complete the course?

No.  The profession is not yet a regulated one in Canada.  Once it his however, certification would be obtained from a governing body, rather than the College.

How can I prove my completion of this course?

All participants who successfully complete the course will receive a Recognition of Course Completion, sent digitally.  You are free to print the document or share it electronically.  A transcript can also be requested from the College, which is the most official form of proof of course completion.

Who typically takes this course?

People from all walks of life take the course.  From individuals who are caregivers for friends or family in palliative care, or someone volunteering in a palliative care setting, to health professionals already working in these environments.  As well, individuals with a general or deep interest in the subject matter, who believe taking the course to be useful for themselves in either a personal or professional capacity.

Can I register for a course offering that is not for my province of residence?

Yes.  However, it is strongly recommended that you choose one for your own province.  If you are unable to find an offering for your province that suits your schedule, then you can enrol in another province, keeping in mind:

  1.  difference in time-zones – the schedule will be local to the province of the offering,
  2. any provincial policies related to the subject/profession, will be taught to that of the province offering. 

Is tuition due (in full) @ time of registration?

Yes.  Registration in the course is confirmed upon full payment.  There is no option for payment in instalments.

What are the possible methods of payment?

Preferred method of payment is credit card, however if needed you can also make a bill payment through your financial institution using your student number as the account number.

Bill payments can take 3-4 business days before we receive it. To avoid deregistration please send a screenshot of your bill payment to cereg@douglascollege.ca

Is it possible to transfer my tuition to another offering if I cannot make it to the original course registered for?

Prior to the registration deadline, tuition can be transferred to other available offerings.

Once the registration deadline has passed, transfer of tuition will be considered on a case-by-case basis in the following situations:

  1. family or personal emergencies,
  2. unusual and/or extenuating circumstances that cannot be avoided (such as inclement weather and/or power outages), and
  3. illness

Is it possible to transfer my tuition to another person if I cannot attend?

No.  Tuition transfers to another person are not possible.