This unit specifically looks at the issues specific to palliation and clinical decision making with adults or older persons from diverse cultural groups within community settings or residential aged care with a life limiting illness. Palliative care within these settings typically occurs over a protracted period of time and involves a specialised palliative approach with terminal care. Students will develop knowledge in the assessment and clinical management of each new symptom in order to differentiate between an irreversible condition and a potentially reversible symptom that requires acute medical intervention. Issues of addressing and documenting patient and family wishes regarding interventions and care in the event of clinical decline in both mental and physical function is also explored. The unit will cover the experience of physical, social and psychological dying and the ethical and legislative issues pertinent to this specialised area.

Unit details

Victoria University Online
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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Contextualise the philosophy and practise of palliative care in community settings;  
  2. Evaluate and investigate the common dying trajectories of adults and older people with a life limiting illness and differentiate between the decline in malignant and non-malignant conditions;  
  3. Explicate the concepts of social, psychological and biological death and describe their application to patients and caregivers;  
  4. Critically review the concepts of advance directives, advanced care planning and their relevance to local legislative frameworks, interpreting the implications of these for practice; and  
  5. Debrief the implications of loss and grief on families, carers and staff within this population of adults and older people.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Reflection (500 words) 10%
Research Paper Assessment and clinical management of symptoms (2500 words) 50%
Case Study Physical, social and psychological dying (2000 words) 40%

Where to next?

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