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The University of Southampton

HLTH6218 Palliative and end of life care for people with life-threatening and life-limiting illness level 7

Module Overview

This is an option module within the MSc Professional Practice in Health Sciences

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of the module are: The provision of quality palliative and end of life care for people is a fundamental to human dignity and a humane compassionate society (NHS England, 2018). This module is relevant to practitioners of any discipline, working in any setting, with people (and those close to them) with palliative and end of life care needs. The module will develop your understanding of palliative care through critical reflection of clinical practice, patient and family experiences, policy, legal frameworks, research and theory.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically debate the principles of palliative care and their fitness of purpose in relation to your clinical context and practice
  • Critically analyse the impact of life-threatening and limiting illness on personhood and family health, and the implications for compassionate and sensitive care
  • Critically reflect on the inter-relationship between contemporary legal and ethical frameworks informing palliative and end of life care
  • Critically evaluate the adequacy of palliative and end of life care services, locally, nationally and globally, in relation to policy imperatives and research knowledge
  • Evaluate the implications of your learning in relation to your practice and your professional role


This module is underpinned by national and international research and theory. Having successfully completed this programme you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: • Grief and loss over the life span development – children, adults and older people – will include theories of loss, attachment and meaning etc. • Communication skills, including breaking bad news, appropriate challenging, dealing with anger, denial, collusion and interprofessional working. • Working with families / family theory. • Nature of malignant and non-malignant disease. • Holistic care in relation to pain and symptom assessment and management. • Key policies e.g. NHS England Ambitions for End of Life Care • Concepts of a ‘good death’ including multicultural aspects. • Dying trajectories. • Ethical decision-making at the end of life, including patient centred perspectives e.g. advanced directives. • Spiritual care e.g. concepts of spiritual health and ‘disease’. • Maintaining personal and professional boundaries. • After death care e.g. last offices, tissue donation, unified DNR form.

Special Features

The module is complementary to the post-registration module Care of People with Cancer. The module design also addresses key learning objectives for non-medical practitioners identified within the European Association of Palliative Care Curriculum

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching and learning methods that will be used to help you achieve the knowledge and understanding outcomes of the programme will be 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 people with palliative and end of life care needs. Learning methods in this module will include: Interpersonal learning - through group discussions (verbal) and through discussion of findings with peers. Team and Group learning – through group activities, problem solving, handling of information and by discussion. Individual learning - through reading, reviewing literature, homework and through formulation of posters and a written Critical Reflection Cognitive learning – development of critical reflection, critical analysis and synthesis of information based on a range of knowledge/evidence. Electronic learning - through literature searching and utilisation of databases to retrieve information. Self-Reflexive learning - in personal and group approaches, identifying an incident upon which to critically reflect and tutorial time. Creative learning - Using research/evidence/knowledge to make recommendations in a specific practice area demonstrated through the student’s written assignment. Inquiry based learning will be the foundation supporting your learning whereby through critical reflection of your practice you will identify the personal, cultural, professional, political and social drivers underpinning your practice.

Guided independent study221
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Cherney N., Challon M., Fallon M., Kaasa S., Portenoy R.K., Currow D. (eds) (2015). Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine. 

Kissane, D., Bultz, B., Butow, P., Bylund, C., Noble, S., and Wilkinson, S. (eds) (2017). Oxford Textbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care. 

Goldman A.; Hain R. and Liben S. (2012). Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children. 


Assessment Strategy

A formative Individual Oral Presentation that cosniders How the principles of palliative care relate to your practice and clinical context. A summative Critical Reflection of a clinical decision underpinning palliative care provision to a patient or their family member A summative Annotated bibliography to support critical reflection


Individual Oral Presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Critical Reflection  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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