Social distancing and visitor restrictions during the COVID pandemic place substantial strain on clinicians and families caring for people who are ill and dying. These experiences can be isolating and distressing for clinicians and families who are grieving.

Storytelling: Previous research demonstrates that telling the story about one’s experience helping to care for a cherished person who died can improve the quality of life for the person who is grieving. The StoryListening Study is based upon this previous work.

Research Questions: This study focuses on evaluating the acceptability of the TeleVideo StoryListening visit and understanding the aspects of the storytelling experience that are most beneficial to quality-of-life.

Research Methods: If you choose to participate in this study you would complete a brief telephone interview consisting of 18 short questions, schedule and complete a recorded TeleVideo Story Listening visit, and complete a brief telephone interview in two weeks consisting of 15 short questions


Who can participate?

Families, friends or affected staff of any person who died of any cause during the COVID pandemic.

What is a TeleVideo visit?

Participants will complete a recorded TeleVideo StoryListening visit with a research story listener. Story listeners will be End-of-Life Doulas who completed training at the University of Vermont. During this conversation, you will be welcomed to share your experience during the hours, days, or weeks before their loved one or patient passed and also about their experience since that time. The StoryListening visit can be as long or as short as you wish it to be. You will be provided with a copy of the recorded story audio for you to do with as you please.

Who are End-of-Life Doulas?

Doulas are nonmedical caregivers who are trained to be neutral and interested listeners at times of intensity, such as death and grief. The doula has a number of guiding questions to help you talk about your experience, but you do not need to use or follow those questions – you will decide on the direction and depth of the story you wish to tell.

Listen to UVM End-of-Life Doula Certificate Program Director and StoryListening Doula Francesca Arnoldy describe the doula’s role:

Would participation cost me anything?

No. Neither you nor your insurance company would be billed for any services. You will receive a pair of earbuds to use during the Story Listening visit that you will be able to keep these after your study participation is over. You will also receive a $25 Visa gift card as a small appreciation for your time.

I would like to participate, what should I do next?

If you are interested in participating in the StoryListening Study, please review our recruitment flyer and email our study coordinator Tess Braddish at:

[email protected]

Participating in this study is completely voluntary and will not interfere with any sources of grief support or medical care that you choose to pursue. Please review the StoryListening Study Flyer if you are interested in participating.