The Doula Model of Care from NEDA

A Model of Care broadly defines the way services are delivered. It outlines best practices for a person, population group or patient cohort as they progress through the stages of a condition or event. It aims to ensure people get the right care, at the right time, by the right team and in the right place.

Core Components of the Doula Model of Care: 6 Guiding Principles

  • Non-medical support. Doulas refrain from performing any clinical or medicalized tasks. 
  • Non-judgmental support. The doula does not impose her/his values on the client such as acting on biases in favor of one method.
  • Family-centered approach. The individual and their family form the unit of care. Doulas do not take the place of partners, family members or other care providers. 
  • Holistic care. Doulas recognize the biopsychosocial and spiritual aspects of the whole person and provide services in the context of this understanding.
  • Empowerment. Doulas promote informed decision-making and foster maximum self-determination for the individual and family.
  • Team members. Doulas are team players with a special role.

Types of Support Provided by Doulas

  • Presence. Good listener, witness, calming influence, nurturing, support for troubleshooting challenges.
  • Emotional support. Always part of the doula’s role. 
  • Information sharing. Education as needed and desired, non-biased and evidence-based. 
  • Proactive guidance. Anticipating needs and making a plan.
  • Resources and referrals. Making referrals to appropriate community resources and care providers, thereby increasing access to all available services.
  • Comfort measures and physical support. Can include hands-on comfort techniques, help with positioning, visualization, use of the breath, and so on.
  • Logistical support. Can include household help, running errands, transportation to medical appointments and so on.

Excerpted from The Doula Business Guide: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum or End-of-Life Doula, 3rd Edition

To read more about the Doula Model of Care, go to What is the “Doula Model of Care”? by Patty Brennan

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