What Is an End-of-Life Doula?

“End-of-life doulas provide non-medical, holistic support and comfort to the dying person and their family, which may include education and guidance as well as emotional, spiritual or practical care.”

– National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA)

Doulas offer Non-Medical Guidance and Support both Practically, Emotionally and Spiritually. We serve terminally ill patients and their families.

“Remember that my life is but a breath”

Job 7:7

Lisa Petgrave-Nelson, LMSW, OSW-C

Lisa Petgrave-Nelson, LMSW, OSW-C

End-of-Life Doula

At an early age, my family and I experienced the deaths and tremendous loss of three family members. It was then that I became all too familiar with the pain of loss while witnessing first-hand the effects grief had on the emotional wellbeing of a family. Due to cultural reasons, my grief was left unresolved, leading to years of tremendous anger and sadness.

It was with time and much soul searching that I was able to come to terms with those losses. What I’ve come to understand is that “trusting the process” opens the door to healing and acceptance of dying and grief.

I became an end-of-life doula to to alleviate the fear surrounding death and to offer a comforting presence during an emotionally sensitive time.

I am honored to provide support for those in the final phase of life, focusing on empowering others to live and die as peacefully as possible, and recognizing dying as a natural part of life.

 I am grateful to meet patients and their families in their homes, supporting them on their own individual journey.

Lisa’s education and career has focused on her passion for working with terminally ill patients and their families with a focus on palliative and end-of-life care.

Lisa earned her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. In addition to being an INELDA-trained End-of-Life Doula, she is also a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), a Certified Oncology Social Worker, and a NYU Zelda Foster Palliative Care and Leadership Fellow.

She has worked in direct practice with chronically ill adults for over twenty years. The past ten years have included patients in acute inpatient and outpatient oncology settings at Emory University Hospital, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and The Cancer Institute at St. Francis Hospital.

Lisa serves on various committees including The Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) DEI Committee and The International End-of Life Doula Association (INELDA) BIPOC Council. She remains an ardent advocate for healthcare and death equity, especially for those in underserved communities.

It is through these experiences that she strives to reshape the cultural narratives and societal fear surrounding death and dying.