The Doula Program collaborates with a wide range of organizations including hospitals, homecare, hospice organizations, nursing homes, social service agencies and religious institutions. Requests for a Doula Volunteer are made for individuals who appear isolated in their illness and would benefit from a Doula Volunteer relationship.

Referral Criteria

  • The person has a life threatening illness or multiple chronic illnesses
  • The person has limited support from family and friends; or could benefit from a relationship with a Doula Volunteer
  • A professional is monitoring the needs of this person as their illness progresses
  • Memory impairment is individually assessed
  • This person has been consulted and would like a "volunteer visitor"

Each referral is assessed individually. We are interested in knowing the patient as an individual, beyond his/her diagnosis. Interests, personality and gender preference are helpful in matching the Doula Volunteer.

How to request a Doula Volunteer

Contact Laurie Massry, Program Manager, or call 212-706-0398.

The Doula Volunteer role / The Doula Program's commitment

Doula Volunteers commit to visiting one time weekly for a minimum of an hour and schedule their own visits.

What do Doulas do? Doula Volunteers are specially trained to visit as illness progresses. Our Doula Volunteers provide an ongoing relationship as illness progresses. Activities vary depending upon each individual / and safety and can include: talking, reading, listening to music, watching TV or a movie, special projects, walking outside, or sitting quietly.

Doula Volunteers visit weekly with one individual until he or she dies. These meaningful relationships last weeks, months and years.

The Doula Volunteer will continue to visit if the location changes, services change or the person is admitted into the hospital.

The Doula Program Support and Supervision

Once a Doula Volunteer is assigned, she/he is supervised weekly by a Doula Program professional staff. Doula Volunteers attend regular meetings and educational groups, facilitated by Doula Program staff. The Doula Program hosts Doula Volunteer events, to honor the lives of clients who have died and to allow Doula Volunteers to come together as a community.

Organizations Utilizing Doula Volunteers have included:

Mount Sinai Medical Center's Palliative Care Service, Bellevue Hospital Palliative Care Service , NYU Medical Center , Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Palliative Care service, Lenox Hill House Calls Program, Mount Sinai Senior Health, Greenwich House, The New Jewish Home, SAGE, Self Help, MJHS Hospice, Calvary Hospice, Dewitt Nursing Home, Marble Collegiate Church, and Dorot.