What is a Death Doula?

What is a Death Doula?

When most people think of a doula, they think of someone who assists women through childbirth. However, there is a type of doula that is becoming more popular in the United States: the death doula. Read on to learn more about the benefits of having a doula during the end of life process, plus a list of death doulas in San Diego.

death doula san diego

What is a Death Doula?

A death doula is a non-medical, trained end-of-life practitioner who provides a dying individual and their family with support and resources. “A death doula can be a sort of lighthouse. We get to ease minds during one of the most tumultuous events in many’s lives using ways that can ground and give comfort to those who need it,” shares Laura LaBelle, founder and doula of Life Shifts Companion.

Services Offered by Death Doulas

As an integral part of the end-of-life process, the services offered will vary based on the death doula’s experience, background and training. At the foundation, most end-of-life care professionals educate, guide, and offer compassionate support in the emotional, spiritual, mental, and practical life domains.

Creating a meaningful end-of-life plan

A death doula can help to create a more meaningful end-of-life experience by assisting with legacy projects and creating personalized rituals. This can be writing letters, creating scrapbooks, transcribing memories into a journal, or preparing a vigil.

Spiritual and emotional support

“Death doulas walk families together towards the fear [of death] and become an anchor for when they have a need,” says LaBelle. Death doulas create a safe space for the patients to talk about what they believe comes after death, helping them come to terms with the next phase of life. Doulas can also relieve any burdens on exhausted caregivers and offer emotional support to family members before, during and after death.

Support with practical life domains

In addition to offering support in the spiritual and emotional aspects of dying, death doulas can also help with the more practical matters. Doulas can provide resources for funeral planning, fill out paperwork, make phone calls on behalf of the family, or help with funeral arrangements.

death doula san diego

How to Choose a Death Doula

If you are interested in finding a death doula, it is important to do your research. There are many different organizations, so you will want to find one that is a good fit for you. You can ask for recommendations from friends or family members, or choose one of our hand picked San Diego doulas below.

When it comes to choosing a death doula, the most important thing is to find someone who you feel comfortable with and who you feel confident in their ability to provide the support that you need.

If you are interested in finding a death doula, here are some questions to ask:

  • What is your experience?
  • What is your training?
  • What services do you offer?
  • What are your fees?
  • What is your availability?

Death Doulas in San Diego

Beautiful Dying

Beautiful Dying, a Concierge Dying and Death Management Service, assists with preparing and supporting the grieving in the dying and death experience.

Life Shifts Companion

Offering 1:1 companionship, training and workshops for end-of-life care, Life Shift Companion is dedicated to providing support to the dying and their loved ones.

Peacefully Prepared 

End of life coach and at home funeral guide, Peacefully Prepared creates sacredness through personal ritual and creative choices.


Death doulas provide an invaluable service to those who are dying and their loved ones. If you or someone you know is facing death, consider reaching out to a death doula for support. If you don’t know where to start, refer to our death doula San Diego list above.

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