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HLTH6077 Principles of High Dependency Care (Adult)

Module Overview

The module is designed for any health and social care professional who wishes to increase their knowledge and understanding of the complex needs of the highly dependent patient (level 2). It is particularly appropriate for those caring for highly dependent patients in a variety of settings such as; Emergency Department, Anaesthetic and Recovery areas or high acuity and/or acute care wards/units.  

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Comprehensive Critical Care (DH, 2000) is focused on ensuring all patients receive the required level of care relating to the severity of their illness irrespective of their geographical location. This has led to many high dependency (level 2) patients being cared for in a variety of clinical areas rather than more traditional high dependency units. The aim of this module is to enable health care professionals to develop upon their existing knowledge and skills in order to effectively assess, plan and manage the care of high dependency patients.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse health care issues/challenges experienced by a client group requiring high dependency car
  • Demonstrate insight of this client group's perspectives of a chosen health care issue/challenge
  • Demonstrate a deep and systematic understanding of current evidence/approaches/ concepts in respect of high dependency care
  • Synthesize relevant evidence to develop a management plan to enhance health outcomes for a client group requiring high dependency care.
  • Critically reflect on the ethical/legal/professional aspects that have influenced the development of your management plan for your high dependency client group.
  • Demonstrate achievement of ten core and five specific practice competencies


What is High Dependency – levels of critical care Holistic assessment and monitoring (non-invasive/invasive) Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) Respiratory Support Inotropic Support Infection Communication and psychological factors (inter professional, patients and significant others) Sensory Deprivation Euthanasia and withdrawal (ethical, legal and professional aspects) Gastro-intestinal/nutritional issues and their management. Service user involvement is a valuable and important component taken into account in relevant sessions and summative assessment of this module .

Special Features

This module attracts individuals from a variety of clinical settings and provides opportunities to share and discuss with collleagues a range of clinical issues relevant to caring for high dependency patients (level 2). Assessment of practice competencies You will need to be supported by a mentor in practice in order to achieve practice competencies. It is recognised that you will not be able to work with your identified mentor on every occasion, therefore any nurse who holds an appropriate critical care qualification (ENB 100 or equivalent) together with a mentorship qualification recognised by the University of Southampton may verify a competence. Nonetheless, your named mentor retains overall responsibility for supporting you throughout the module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching and learning methods that will be used to help you achieve the learning outcomes of this module are designed to facilitate a contextual exploration of your clinical experience in relation to the integration of theory and research in order to provide quality care for high dependency patients. Adult learning (Knowles, 1990) is embedded in this module enabling students to participate collaboratively and independently by engaging in a variety of learning methods. Learning methods in this module will include: 1. Interpersonal learning - through group discussions (verbal) and through discussion of findings with peers. 2. Team and Group learning – through group activities, problem solving and by discussion. 3. Individual learning - through reading, reviewing literature, reflection. 4. Cognitive learning – development of critical reflection, critical analysis and synthesis of information based on a range of knowledge/evidence. 5. Electronic learning - through literature searching and utilisation of databases to retrieve information. 6. Creative learning - Using research/evidence/knowledge to make recommendations in a specific practice area demonstrated through the student’s written assignment.

Completion of assessment task40
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Completion of assessment task30
Follow-up work50
Practical classes and workshops15
Wider reading or practice80
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Marieb, E., (2012). Human Anatomy and Physiology. 

Guidelines for Emergency Oxygen Use in Adult Patients.

Critical care nutrition.

Department of Health (2005). Quality critical care; beyond ‘Comprehensive Critical Care. 

Intensive Care Society (2002). Levels of critical care for adult patients. 

Crossman A.R. & Neary D (2010). Neuroanatomy: an illustrated colour text. 

Oh's Intensive Care Manual.

Department of Health (2000). Comprehensive critical care. 

Moore, T., & Woodhouse, P., (2009). High Dependency Nursing Care Observation, Intervention and Support for level 2 patients. 

The European Society of Intensive Care Medicine.



Written assignment


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3000 words) 100%
Clinical Competence %


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment %
Clinical Competence %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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