Frequently Asked Questions
End-of-life doulas and palliative companionship is somewhat new and many people are unsure of what it is that we do! We have composed a series of questions that we are asked nearly every day. If you have a questions for us please scroll down this page and fill our our form.
Does insurance pay for Bridge the Gap Services?
No, at this time medical insurance does not pay for end of life doula or CareDoula® services. For this reason we do offer payment plans. However, in certain cases HSA will cover certain costs. We can discuss this further if you’d like to learn more.
What kind of training do you have?
Meagan first studied psychology and music industry in college and took a death and dying course that was life-changing. She was trained as a caregiver in 2014, specifically do help her grandmother at her end of life.
All of our end-of-life doulas are certified and then go through an extra 8 week training program where they must pass a comprehensive exam. Meagan Hope, the owner of Bridge the Gap, is certified by Quality of Life Care.
In 2018 myself, Meagan, and my husband Simon (Development Director) had a very unique circumstance in how we received our hands on training from a local hospice that included nurses, social workers, and Chaplains. We had two friends (a married couple) who were both dying from cancer and didn’t have any family living near them. We have both wanted to open a business that serves people at their end of life, so we were honored to help them with their end of life care. We worked directly from beginning to end with their hospice team learning about the end of life process over the course of 4 months (which included reading about 12 different books about end of life care) and about 50-80 hours in hands on work with hospice staff helping with their end of life care. We spent about 150 hours with our friends during their end of life journey. Aside from this experience we also have 10 years experience in planning events, and that’s why we offer help in planning a living funeral or other types of events or family gatherings. We are not funeral directors, so we cannot plan a funeral, but we can consult.
I, Meagan am a marketing professional and I have an extensive background in storytelling and legacy work. Now I help people create their own legacy project, and especially love seeing live review work and how amazing it is, which is some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. We contract with videographers, photographers, songwriters, ghostwriters, and artists who want to use these resources for their legacy project.
We take continuing education courses each month through Hospice Foundation of America, and we have volunteer training with a local hospice. These CE courses cover every aspect of the end of life process. We also attend seminars, workshops and learn from respected experts in the profession of end of life services.
We do not give legal advice but understand how to guide clients through the checklist of things that need to be tended to at the end of life. At Bridge the Gap we offer resources to reputable businesses within our community of Portland and Vancouver that we have personally worked with.
We have hundreds of hours caring for, holding vigil, and helping people through the dying process. It’s because of this experience that we feel confident in our abilities to help you or your loved one.
*We also have an advisory board for Bridges that includes end of life practitioners, spiritual and energy healers, and medical staff, too.
Why did we start this business?
“I grew up in a family that cared for both my aging grandparents and also at the end of life. When I was 8 we moved into a new house to care for my grandfather who had a massive heart attack and left him needing in-home care. I watched my mom and grandma care for him and then at 15 my grandfather died. I moved into my grandmothers home (the house I grew up in) to help care for my grandmother for the last few years of her life. She died in 2015.
Her death was so different from my grandfathers death and a huge part of that is because the support that is needed is out of the scope of many of the agencies and organizations that assist with the process of dying.
My grandfather had all of his family around him when he passed because the owner of the adult family home in 1997 was able to provide respite and help us all comprehend what was happening during the active dying process. They were there the entire 24 hours!
Many organizations that help with the dying process are spread very thin, even with the help of volunteers.
We needed respite during my grandmother’s active dying process for a few hours so we could eat and rest (I was pregnant). The facility she was in and hospice was not able to provide that relief we needed at that time, and my grandmother died alone. We had expressed that we wanted to be with her while she died and we were all there for nearly the entire active dying process but so desperately needed some sleep. Now, as a death doula I know this was how it was supposed to be, but not feeling supported was the worst feeling ever. The truth is she probably wanted to take her last breath alone. It would have been nice to talk about expectations when someone is dying. It would have been so helpful to hear a professional say “try not to put any expectations on someone’s death.”
There are wonderful volunteer programs out there, but that’s not always available when you need it.” -Meagan Hope, Certified EOL and CareDoula®.
We both have felt called to the end of life profession for years. Both of us have helped in many different capacities and have different types of training. Meagan has caregiving training, too but does not offer those services. Simon has a calm presence that so many clients connect with and need in this phase of their life.
In 2015 we nearly purchased an adult family home but found out we were pregnant and realized the timing was not right.
In 2018 we officially started Bridge the Gap, LLC!
The calling had been coming for years, but it was crystal clear this was the right time to start Bridge the Gap, LLC.
If you haven’t already, please read the about page, too.
Why did you name your business Bridge the Gap?
The name Bridge the Gap has many meanings. Often we think about crossing the bridge when we die, and that is part of the meaning of our business name. There are a few other meanings to our name, too.
One other reason for the name Bridge the Gap is we really do bridge that gap with all the other services you might need on your journey with a life limiting illness or end of life journey.
A second reason is we believe there are many bridges to be crossed during the end of life, not just the “main” bridge that you cross over. There are steps in the process of dying, and we’ll be there with you on that road and go over some of the bridges with you, and as you know we can only go so far with you as you cross that last bridge, but we do everything within our abilities to make sure you’re not alone.
The last reason is that our business is located in the greater Portland, Oregon area and is nicknamed “Bridge City.”
How do I know what services I need?
We are such a new industry that many people are not sure what they need or want at this time. We often hear from families that are worried about “dad” because he doesn’t realize he’s dying or their afraid for his safety. Often, “dad” doesn’t want to hear from us because he may not be ready to want to talk about his feelings. It’s okay for “dad” to not want to face this head on like other family members might want to. We can help guide families on how to talk to their loved ones about palliative care or end of life.
We also feel the best way to find out what services you need and want is to talk with you and learn about your personal circumstances. There is no “one-size-fits-all” service for our clients and families, so let’s discuss how we can help you. We’ll clearly go over what we can offer, how much it will cost, how you can pay for it, and what we CANNOT offer, but can refer to other reputible companies to help you.
Do you train people who want to become a doula?
We offer a one-on-one consulting program currently. This 1:1 consulting program helps other doulas who want more hands on learning and guided support, whether you’re looking for a certification program or just want to know how to become and end of life doula, Meagan can help guide you at an affordable rate with many different options.
Every week we receive many emails and phone calls from people who want to become an end of life doula, and do our very best to contact each and every one of you back. We see the need. We hear you! In January 2021 we officially launch our 1:1 consulting program and we will 2 different very affordable options. THIS IS NOT A CERTIFICATION! This is what we call a “clarity and resource session.”
This program is for both people ready to move forward with becoming an end of life doula looking for resources, and those of you who are still not quite sure but would like to spend time talking 1:1 with Meagan and learn things like:
1. Can I quit my job and instantly get certified and find work as an end of life doula?
2. How long does it take to become an end of life doula?
3. Will this work fit my lifestyle, and if not, how can I make this important work fit into my life as I feel called to do this?
4. Can I support myself as an end of life doula?
5. What does this work “really” look and feel like?
6. How many different roles can an end of life doula offer, are legalities around certain services?
This list is just a few common questions we get asked regularly. We’re rolling into our 3 year of business and that’s still new! However, Meagan has owned and operated 5 business including Bridge the Gap, LLC and also founded a local nonprofit back in 2004. You can trust she will give you heartfelt answers that will hopefully help you walk your own path of serving others at the end of life or living with a serious illness.
For those who are ready to become certified we can send you a list of resources for not just end of life doula education & certifications, but end of life advocacy, palliative companionship, and the basics of how to run a business. This is why there are two different types of 1:1 sessions offered. Call 503-863-0596 and please leave a voicemail as we usually cannot answer our phone during the workday. You can also email Meagan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*We are still preparing for a formal in-person internship program working with real consenting clients.
Are you hiring certified doulas?
Yes, we’re always looking for certified and qualified end of life doula support. We do not have full-time positions available at this time.
Do you offer support for parents dealing with the loss of a child?
At this time we are not specially trained for this kind of support. However, we can recommend some amazing practioners and organizations that can offer support for parents who are dealing with the loss of a child.