The resources featured on Death Doula Cincinnati are meant to provide the visitor with helpful links to navigate the myriad end-of-life issues. Access and utilize the resources at your discretion.
The end-of-life field is growing and deepening at a tremendous rate. Our intention is to continuously update the resources as new and useful services and products become available.
Please share any resources you feel would be helpful to include. If you discover any broken links, we would appreciate you letting us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
International End-of-Life Doula Association (INELDA)
INELDA is a professional association that provides training for death doulas using a model that was inspired by birth doulas. The heart of their mission is changing the face of dying by learning from the best and worst of what families and doulas witness and experience during the dying process. INELDA has a robust training staff of doulas actively working in the field and demand for their training has skyrocketed in the past few years. INELDA is well positioned to provide in-depth training for the burgeoning doula movement. Check out their website, read about their offerings and find a local doula using their directory: https://inelda.org
"Death Doulas Used to Be Rare. The COVID 19 Pandemic Changed That"
Time Magazine article dated 1/26/2022 discusses the growth movement of death doulas in the USA. Link: https://time.com/6128469/death-doulas-covid-19-pandemic/
Book: "A Death Doula's Guide for Families and Caregivers"
A foundational book by Henry Fersko-Weiss who co-founded INELDA shares stories of how he became a death doula, created doula programs in two hospice organizations, and how he works with his clients. Whether you are interested in becoming a death doula or wondering if a death doula might be a good fit for yourself or a dying loved one, this book will provide insights in how death doulas function at the end of life. The full title: Finding Peace at the End of Life: A Death Doula’s Guide for Families and Caregivers and can be purchased at all major booksellers.
National End-of-Life Doula Association (NEDA)
NEDA’s mission is inspire positive, creative change in American death practices by creating high standards, ethical and practical guidelines, and rich networking opportunities for all EOLDs, resulting in meaningful experiences for the dying, their caregivers, and the agencies involved. Their website provides resources and a directory to find doulas. https://www.nedalliance.org
The Order of the Good Death
The Order of the Good Death is a death acceptance organization founded in 2011 by mortician and author Caitlin Doughty. The group advocates for natural burial and embracing human mortality. Caitlin is an excellent communicator and approaches death, dying and morticians with a biting sense of humor. See videos here.
It’s a resource rich website with information about what happens to a body when it dies, embalming and alternatives.
BJ Miller: What Really Matters at the End-of-Life
BJ Miller’s Ted Talk about nearly dying and becoming a triple amputee has more than 15 million views. He is a palliative care physician, has worked for the innovate Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, is an advocate for the positive death movement.
His most recent endeavor is Mettle Health. The website describes their services:
“We are a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains who have also been patients and caregivers. With more than 100 combined years of experience in clinical care, we understand the strengths and the limitations of the healthcare system. We can’t change a diagnosis, but we can change the way you navigate it.”
MettleHealth seems like a trend that may become predominant in the healthcare industry.
Dr. Christopher Kerr, MD, PhD
Dr. Kerr is a hospice doctor and author of the book, Death is but a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at the End of Life which elucidates what he has learned from dying patients.
His 2015 Ted Talk has received nearly 5 million views. Dr. Kerr has conducted substantive research about pre-death dreams and visions people experience before death.
Compassion & Choices: Medical Aid in Dying
Compassion and Choices is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving care, expanding options and empowering everyone to chart their end-of-life journey.
Here is their vision statement: We envision a society that affirms life and accepts the inevitability of death, embraces expanded options for compassionate dying, and empowers everyone to choose end-of-life care that reflects their values, priorities, and beliefs.
Cake: End-of-Life Planning Website
Cake is a comprehensive website for end-of-life planning, grief and loss and exploring mortality. Why Cake? “End-of-life planning is actually all about honoring life. We chose “Cake” in the spirit of celebrating life milestones, and to highlight that planning is a gift to yourself and to your loved ones.” Cake provides FREE planning tools and over 4,000 articles on a variety of topics. They do not charge anyone for using their tools and earn money with affiliate links with full transparency. Check out this rich resource at https://www.joincake.com/welcome/
Five Wishes End-of-Life planning website
Five Wishes is a website dedicated to end-of-life planning. There are forms for legal documents and for creating the discussion about last wishes. The forms are either electronic or printed and can be purchased for a small amount of money which keeps the organization afloat.
Here’s a podcast episode from End-of-Life University interviewing Joanne Eason, President of Five Wishes, who describes in detail what they offer.
An advanced directive is an umbrella term for a health care proxy or living will which is a document that designates a trusted person to make medical decisions for a person who is not able to make their own decisions. EVERYONE – young, old, healthy or health challenged should have an advanced directive. Here is a link to Cake’s resources with articles that define terms and provide an online tool to make your own living will by the state you live in. https://www.joincake.com/blog/category/advance-directives-and-living-wills/
Estate Planning and Will
Again, here are Cake’s resources for estate planning and wills: https://www.joincake.com/blog/category/wills-and-estate-planning/
Here is an article from NOLO, a credible do-it-yourself legal website, on the cost of estate planning: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/the-cost-of-estate-planning-how-much-will-you-pay.html
Here is a FREE template from eforms.com to write a simple will. https://eforms.com/wills/ohio-last-will-and-testament-template/
Here is a helpful article from FindLaw discussing differences between wills and estate planning which outlines the importance of pre-death planning: https://www.findlaw.com/estate/planning-an-estate/the-most-important-differences-between-wills-and-estate-planning.html
Finding an Estate Planning Attorney
There are several approaches to find an attorney. First, ask trusted friends, family members or business associates who they would recommend. Second, vet their recommendations using online search, Better Business Bureau and look at the lawyer’s website. Third, call the lawyers office and ask questions about their background, fee schedule, etc. and assess your “gut feel.” It’s helpful to have a ballpark idea of what the cost will be for the services needed to help you assess the lawyer’s legitimacy.
Findlaw.com has a comprehensive list of lawyers which can be sorted by specialty and location.
Here is a list of estate planning attorneys in the Cincinnati area from Findlaw.com: https://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/lawyer_dir/search/jsp/stdSearch_process.jsp?stype=BY_ADDR_OR_ZIP&keyword=Estate+Planning&location=45213&previousKeyword=Estate+Planning&previousLocation=Cincinnati%2C+OH&sortBy=&sLanguage=&sAcceptCreditCard=&sFreeConsultation=&sHasVideo=&sHasReview=&sReviewAvg=&super_lawyers_flag=&sVirtualConsltInd=&sPaymentPlansAccepted=
Your Living Obituary
Obituaries are notoriously difficult to write in the aftermath of someone’s death. Why not write your own living obituary with life highlights that are important to you. For a modest fee, the website allows people to create a living document that can be changed and updated as life changes and evolves. Email addresses can be added so that upon your death, the appropriate people and organizations will be notified. They also offer help in writing your obituary and workshops if you want to learn more. Learn more here: https://www.mylivingobituary.com
Listen to an excellent podcast interview at End-of-Life University with the founders of My Living Obituary, here: https://eolupodcast.com/2022/04/25/ep-348-my-living-obituary-legacy-therapy-at-the-end-of-life-with-maggie-gannon-and-heidi-connolly/?mc_cid=dbe94c4b0f&mc_eid=6c3086a1c0
Funeral Pre-Planning: The Pros and Cons
Most funeral homes encourage pre-planning and paying for one’s funeral in advance of death. The obvious pro is that family members will not have to deal with the stress of funeral planning in the midst of grieving and processing the death. However, there are some cautionary considerations to examine before paying for funeral costs in advance. Here is a throrough article from Cake.com.
Also from Cake.com, an article about cremation services, Pre-Paid Cremation Services Explained: Cost, Process and Planning.
Finding a Hospice Near Your Location
Because hospices are reimbursed by Medicare, you can find an easy-to-use directory at the medicare.gov website. The search tool is here: https://www.medicare.gov/care-compare/#search Once you select your location, you will see a list of hospices in your area. There is a compare tool on each listing and you can select up to three hospices and compare them based on number of patients served, for profit or non-profit, patient satisfaction scores and more.
Another search tool is called the National Hospice Locator where you can type in your location.
The Hospice Foundation has resources for patients and caregivers who are navigating hospice care and for people who work in the hospice field. Here is a link to Having the Conversation which provides excellent questions to consider about when the right time is for hospice, how to choose a hospice, how to talk about hospice with a person who is dying and more.
The Nurse with the Purple Hair (short documentary film)
This documentary film was created by Sean S. Cunningham who is a noted Hollywood director, especially for horror films like Friday the 13th. He met Michelle Lasota at a fan convention where she was assigned to be his assistant. Sean realized that Michelle has real wisdom as a hospice nurse and made this short documentary. It’s an informative film about the meaning and heart of hospice and how it works. Amazing stories! Link: https://www.thenursewiththepurplehair.com
Palliative care focuses on preventing and alleviating suffering and improving quality of life when suffering a serious illness.
A definition can be found at Get Palliative Care and a useful FAQ and real patient stories to understand how palliative care and hospice intersect.
Many hospice organizarions are integrating palliative care along with the traditional hospice services. For example, Hospice of Cincinnati now includes palliative care. Being able to consult with medical doctors who specialize in symptom management is very helpful.
Read Jen’s blog article about her mother’s experience with palliative care here. It would have been super helpful if we had a palliative care physician but they didn’t exist in 2003.
Ohio Council on Aging: Caregiver Support Program
The Caregiver Support Program aims to reduce caregiver stress and burden and help increase confidence in caregivers abilities. There are qualification criteria and the call center at 800-252-0155 can help determine what services you might qualify for. The program also offers respite care where the patient can spend up to 7 days in a care facility, so the caregiver can get much needed rest. Here is a link to a Caregiver Fact Sheet.
AARP Free Family Caregiver How-To Video Series
Most caregivers do their essential care tasks without any training. This video series provides how-to’s on specific medical/nursing tasks such as preparing special diets, managing incontinence, wound care, mobility and managing medications. Here is the link: AARP Family Caregiver How-To Video Series
Caregiver: A Love Story (short documentary film)
This short documentary film was produced by a Palliative Care doctor who initially thought the film would be about her friend, Bambi, who was situated to die at home with hospice. As the filming progressed, a more compelling story revealed itself which is the toll that caregiving takes and the lack of practical resources available to caregivers. Here is a link to the film’s website: Caregiving: A Love Story. Listen to a conversation with Dr. Jessica Zitter, MD, the film maker, on the End-of-Life University podcast, As of April 2022, the film is not readily available on streaming platforms. Search for the title on Youtube and find free screenings and discussions. Here is a link to the film’s website: Caregiving: A Love Story
Care Partner Training (by INELDA)
International End-of-Life Doula Association (INELDA) offers a 12 hour class (four 3-hour sessions) on providing emotional support as a caregiver. Check out the details here: https://inelda.org/learn/care-partners-class/
End-of-Life Doula Family Caregiver Training (by Doulagivers)
Doulagivers offers a free level 1 training program for anyone who would like to learn more about supporting loved ones through the end-of-life. Read about it and sign up here: https://www.doulagivers.com/one-million-people-trained/
Caregiving at Life's End: Facing the Challenges (article)
A thorough article from American Hospice Foundation discussing the emotional toll of caregiving for a loved one and providing helpful strategies to endure and accept help. https://americanhospice.org/caregiving/caregiving-at-lifes-end-facing-the-challenges/
How to Choose a Funeral Home: the Basics
Again, Cake.com provides a comprehensive article on what to consider when making funeral arrangements beginning with the typical services offered by funeral homes, i.e., handling the death certificate paperwork, transportation, the obituary, etc. Here is the article.
Funeral Home Directory in Cincinnati and Ohio
The Ohio Funeral Directors Association provides a search function to find a funeral home by location in Ohio. The direcotry search function is found by clicking the “consumer” tab on the website. Find it here.
Survey: The Average Cost of a Funeral 2021
The National Funeral Direcotors Association conducts and publishes an annual survey showing the average cost of a funeral with various options, i.e., cremation or burial, with a viewing or not, etc. The average cost is $6,000 to $10,000 depending on what is wanted but costs can far exceed $10,000. Use this resource to compare costs to what is being quoted from a local funeral home. The 2021 survey is here.
Avoid Funeral Scams: AARP Fraud Alert
It would be nice to believe that most funeral homes would not take advantage of people who are vulnerable and in the midst of grief, but unfortuantely, there are some bad players in the field. The funeral business can be prone to “upselling” while family members are experiencing emotional duress and wanting to do the best by their loved one who has just died. Knowing the average costs of services and knowing about the alternatives in the market place will help in the discernment process. Here is AARP’s article with a list of warning signs and do’s and don’ts.
You Can Buy Your Own Casket
A major cost of a traditional funeral with burial is the casket which are included in a funeral package. Most funeral homes do not offer a wide variety of caskets in terms of style and cost. Titan Caskets is an online alternative with free shipping and guaranteed to be at the funeral home on time.
Listen to an informative podcast episode with End-of-Life University with the Titan Casket co-founders here.
Cremation Services: Average Cost and How to Choose
Here are two articles from Cake to navigate cremation services. First, How Much Does the Average Cremation Cost?
The cost of cremation will depend on whether or not a direct cremation is the option. The second article is Direct Cremation: Definition, Cost, Process.
To find cremation services in Cincinnati, search for “cremation services in Cincinnati” and a variety of options come up. Most funeral homes have a cremation option. There are quite a few who list the prices on their website. Again, talk to more than one provider and compare services and prices. Also, look for reviews from customers who have used the provider’s services.
How to Donate Your Body to Science: A No Cost Option
There are many reasons why a person might want to donate their body to science or medicine with cost being one of them. Body donation is a no cost option. Here is information from University of Cincinnati’s body donation program with a substantive FAQ section. UC’s Body Donation Program.
Green Burial Options in Cincinnati
A green burial is defined by the Green Burial Council as “a way of caring for the dead with a minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health and the restoration and/or preservation of natural habitat.”
Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary “is the first and only dedicated natural burial ground in the Cincinnati area.” Their website clearly states the pricing for green burials and provides educational information. Cincinnati Magazine wrote an in-depth article about Heritage Acres and it’s founder, Bill Gupton, here.
Home Funerals: A Not-So-Old Tradition Is Making a Come Back
It wasn’t that long ago when our loved ones died at home and then a viewing and visitation naturally followed. The practice of home funerals is making a resurgance – a move from the less personal funeral homes to the intimate and supportive environment of a home. Read about home funerals at the Home Funeral Alliance website.
In Cincinnati, contact Mary Manera who is a Death Widwife, Home Funeral Guide and Funeral Celebrant, here.
David Kessler: World renowned expert on grief and loss
David’s website is grief.com and is packed with many resources, a blog and information about his new podcast on Spotify.
David co-wrote with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross the seminal book, On Grief and Grieving. His latest book expands the original five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – by adding the sixth stage which is meaning. His latest book is Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief.
Check out his well known list of the 10 Best Things to Say to Someone in Grief and the 10 Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief, here.
Help Guide: Your Trusted Non-Profit to Mental Health and Wellness
Helpguide.org helps people cope with grief and loss. They provide online therapy for many issues and also specialize in grief and loss.
Here is a link to the grief and loss portion of their website where there are many articles to help with grief in its many varieties and situations.
Book: The Wild Edge of Sorrow
The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller is highly recommended from a wide variety of sources.
Francis writes in the preface of the book:
“I wrote this book for a number of reasons, most notably, to restore soul to grief work and grief to soul work. I feel grief has been colonized by the clinical world, taken hostage by diagnoses and pharmaceutical regimes. For the most part, grief is not a problem to be solved, not a condition to be medicated, but a deep encounter with an essential experience of being human.”
You can find the book, resources and various video/audio recordings at his website: http://www.wisdombridge.net
Cincinnati Grief Resources
Hospice of Cincinnati (HOC) provides a physical space, The Goldstein Family Grief Center in Blue Ash, for people to come together and share about grief. They offer support groups and workshops.
HOC also provides the Fernside Center for grieving children