The University of Southampton

HLTH6163 Advanced Complex Care in Older People

Module Overview

The main aim of this module is to develop your ability to find, test, and lead on solutions to complex problems related to service provision for older people. It will deepen your understanding of theoretical ideas and technology-based approaches pertinent to complex care and older people, and provide opportunities for you to develop and apply a critical awareness of scholarship in the field of complex care and active ageing. It builds on the knowledge and skills developed in the module: Foundations of Complex Care and Older People, and assumes a basic understanding of complexity theory, service provision, age-related issues, and the role of technology-based solutions. The module uses a similar range of learning and teaching methods, namely a blend of web-based case study, peer assessment and academic seminars and tutorials delivered in study blocks, but for this module you are expected to research and justify, in writing and orally, an innovate proposal to address a problem. The module provides opportunities to critically reflect upon own role and contribution to improving support, and upholding rights, for older people with complex care needs and their families.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Provide you with a range of structured opportunities to explore and develop new caring solutions to perennial problems • Equip you with the critical awareness to bridge the theory/policy/practice gap in relation to supporting older people with complex care needs • Develop your leadership skills and qualities in respect of solving problems

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Develop a critical understanding of relevant theories and approaches in relation to health and social care, and their applications to practice, including complexity theory, person- and relationship-centred care, and risk enablement;
  • Synthesise evidence and knowledge from a range of sources to develop an integrated approach to care that promotes client and family health and quality of life;
  • Articulate understanding of the advanced relational and technical skills in assessment, professional care and shared decision-making needed for this client group;
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the sociocultural and other environmental factors influencing frontline care for this client group;
  • Identify a complex problem, then develop and justify an innovative and feasible proposal for resolving it.


• Complexity theory in relation to older peoples’ care services; • Person-centred, relationship-centred and compassionate care in relation to older person’s care; • Advanced practice in relation to the fundamentals of care e.g. nutrition; • Balancing rights with risks; frameworks for positive risk-taking; advocacy; and empowerment; • Evidence on the link between feeling in control and well-being; • Forms of abuse; safeguarding; safe and legal practice; • Integrated approaches to care; • Technology-based approaches to supporting older people with complex care needs from culturally diverse backgrounds; telecare, robotics, interactive and non-interactive devices. • The role of digital health information systems and technologies; • Measuring and promoting quality of life in older people; • Introduction to leading and managing change in older peoples’ services; • Introduction to advanced decision making in challenging situations • The care and commissioning environment; health economics and international variations • Involving older people with complex needs and their families, from culturally diverse backgrounds, in action planning and service re-design and development.

Special Features

External people will be invited to supervise the activity and to share their first hand experiences in relation to each case. This is likely to be a service user and/or family member, ICT expert, clinician, lawyer, or social care expert.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module uses a blend of approaches to teaching including (1) web based case-studies and conventional teaching methods, including (2) academic tutorials, small group-work, and guest lectures/talks, delivered in two, two-day study blocks (16 hours in total). (1) A set of two case studies based on real or realist situations related to complex care and older adults will be assigned to students to research as an individual activity. Each case study will consist of a scenario (the context) a statement of the issues (the focus of the case), the task (the problem) and additional supporting materials such as documents, newspaper articles, and spoken dialogue. Students will be required to engage in a range of activities related to the case study, such as analysing the main issues in the situation, diagnosing a problem, and searching for further information about the topic. Clear guidance will be given. The case studies will be web-based on Blackboard and will utilise the full functionality of this managed learning environment, such as adaptive release, self and peer assessment features, and course blogs. (2) Two study blocks involving academic tutorials, small group work, and guest talks, will be scheduled to scaffold and support student’s web-based learning, and to build trust and rapport between students and academic staff. Each study block will have a set of clear learning goals related to the web-based case studies, and incorporate to foster peer-support, interagency group working, and inter-professional learning. The study blocks will provide an opportunity for students to discuss findings from their own research and to work on cases in more depth. External people will be invited to supervise the activity and to share their first hand experiences in relation to each case. Together these strategies will allow for a deep understanding of complex care in relation to older adults, and provide a rich range of learning opportunities, thus ensuring that a global learning experience.

Wider reading or practice45
Preparation for scheduled sessions44
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Preparation for scheduled sessions80
Total study time251

Resources & Reading list

ICT for Health and Ageing Well.

Mapping of effective technology-based services for independent living for older people at home.

May, C. R., Finch, T. L., Cornford, J., Exley, C., Gately, C., Kirk, S., … Mair, F. S. (2011). Integrating telecare for chronic disease management in the community: what needs to be done?. ,11 , pp. 131.

Roberts, C & Mort, M. (2009). Reshaping what counts as care: Older people, work and new technologies‘. European Journal of Disability Research. ,3 , pp. 138-158.

Plsek, P. E., Greenhalgh, T., Lane, A., & Plsek, P. Complexity science The challenge of complexity in health four articles Series editors. PubMed Central. ,323 , pp. 625-628.

Sanger, M., & Giddings, M. M. (2012). A Simple Approach to Complexity Theory. ,48 , pp. 369–376.

Bowling A, McKee M. (2010). Unequal access to health care. Editorial. BMJ. ,341 , pp. c3726.

Care at a distance. On the closeness of technology.. Amsterdam University Press. ,3 , pp. 138-158.

Schmillmeier,M. & Domenech, M. (2010). New Technologies and Emerging Spaces of Care.. 

Aging in Place Technology Watch.

Plsek, P. E., Greenhalgh, T., Plsek, P. E., Greenhalgh, T., Plsek, P. E., Lane, A., … Plsek, P. (2014). Complexity science The challenge of complexity in health four articles Series editors. ,323 , pp. 625–628.

Bowling, A. (2010). Do older and younger people differ in their reported well-being? , page 1-11. 

Dreachslin, J. L Jean, G and Malone, B (2012). Diversity and Cultural Competence in Health Care: A systems approach. 

Policies and research in ICT for Ageing Well.



Identify and present


MethodPercentage contribution
Oral presentation  (20 minutes) 30%
Written proposal  ( words) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Summative assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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