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Spiritual Support of the Heart and Soul

Offering palliative care patients whole life coaching to reflect, renew, reconcile and reconnect to life.

Photo of Yvonne
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Everyone will have an EOL experience but few will prepare. For those in palliative care time becomes a known and precious commodity. Even after the advanced planning conversations many can become lost in a waiting period. How we spend that time can be life-giving, and a time to reconnect to life, family and our authentic self. Using a life coaching model, companions can help individuals create and navigate through their end-of-life challenges and goals.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I am currently experimenting with this idea in my current role as coach/spiritual companion for palliative care patients.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Is this viable? Does the current palliative care model support this? Can this service be billed? Can it be an accepted practice to use more than designated chaplains (end-time preparation) social workers (community resource) counselors (grief)? Does this fill a perceived need today?

Tell us about your work experience:

I was involved with small business development, have a MBA in health services, worked in non-profits, corporate executive, and have certificates in coaching and spiritual direction. Currently have a small practice and volunteer with hospice/palliative care.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Morgan Meinel

Yvonne, thank you so much for your personal story and for your contribution to the ideas phase of this challenge! I really like the idea of having an end of life coach available for people during the end of life process.

As a Palliative Care Nurse, I work very intimately with an interdisciplinary team that consists of doctors, social workers, chaplains, and doulas. It really takes a loving, supportive, and knowledgable community of individuals to address all of the unique needs of our patients and their families. How would the role of an end of life coach contribute differently than a trained palliative/hospice care volunteer or doula? What additional benefits would they be able to offer? Most of the time, the care our multidisciplinary team provides for our patients is limited to just their hospital stay. We often wonder what happens to these individuals and their families after discharge from the hospital - or to the families after their loved one dies on our Palliative Care Unit. Could an end of life coach be available even after the patient dies, to assist the family in their grieving and offer extra support and care?  This would be so ideal! 

I look forward to hearing more about your ideas, and thank you so much for sharing! 

Photo of Yvonne

Hi Morgan. I think you identified the key opportunity for a coach. It is after the patient's stay in the hospital - where the prognosis is life altering and/or life limiting and palliative and hospice care may not be needed yet.

EOL coaching can begin at a diagnosis and continue until the end.  As for family, I think it is an opportunity but I find that a community support group or private grief counseling service works wonders.

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